Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘activism’

27 MARCH, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

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The only election that matters, or what Linkin Park have to do with the UN Secretary General and your Saturday night.

Today’s edition is really a call to action, one very simple yet very important action — switching off your lights for an hour tomorrow night. Because tomorrow, March 28, between 8:30PM and 9:30PM local time (whatever your locale), is Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a global sustainability movement ignited by WWF. It began two years ago in Sydney, when 2.2 million homes and offices switched off their lights for one hour in an effort to raise awareness about the urgency of changing our daily habits in order to combat climate change. By 2008, 50 million people had joined the movement. Iconic landmarks like the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House, and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

This year, Earth Hour stands for something much bigger — a global vote for change, aiming to draw 1 billion people into the voting booth that is the light switch. Although this is political, it’s not about national politics — it’s about planetary politics.

The propaganda materials for this year’s event were designed by none other than Shepard Fairey, whom it’s no secret we respect on more levels than we can count.

The effort, dubbed VOTE EARTH, is a global call to action for everyone — every office, every housewife, every partygoer and bookworm and sheep herder. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH, with anyone from the UN Secretary General to Edward Norton to Linkin Park endorsing the effort and urging us to join in.

So here’s what to do:

  • Sign up — commit to make your planetary vote count.
  • Tell your friends — darkness is always more fun in company.
  • Make an event of it and, really, have some fun with it — take photos, make a video, follow Earth Hour on Twitter and tag any of your related tweets with #earthhour or #voteearth and your #location.

That’s it, it’s that simple. So, um, just do it, willl ya? We ceartainly will.

25 FEBRUARY, 2009

GOOD Magazine: The Real Stimulus Package

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How the best magazine around got better, or why taking a slight financial hit can get you an intellectual grand slam.

We love GOOD Magazine. Always have (well, at least since their launch party in Philly’s Reading Terminal in 2007), always will. And now we have yet another reason to.

goodsub Initially, an annual subscription to GOOD used to cost $20, all of which went to your choice of charity from their list of nonprofit partners — great already. (Ours went to WWF.) But imagine our delight to discover that GOOD is now pushing the innovation front with a pay-what-you-want model – you can subscribe for anything from $1 to $1,000, all of which still goes to a charity of your choice.

Your choice of subscription also gets you various tiers of perks: Anything over $20 gets free admission to Choose GOOD parties (and good they are, take our work for it), $10o or more gets your name immortalized in the magazine, and if you have the good will and appropriate pocket depth to afford the $1,000 subscription, we’re talking lifetime subscription to the magazine, lifetime free admission to Choose GOOD parties, your name printed in the magazine, and a signed, limited edition bound copy of GOOD.

Genius.

We’ve seen this sort of approach in the music industry, with acts big and small, from Radiohead to Jill Sobule, redefining the traditional business model. But we’re all the more excited to see it in print publishing, an industry struggling to stay afloat in the digital ocean of content.

More importantly, it’s a particularly good metaphor for the broader concepts GOOD stands for: Cultural contribution. Empowerment. Freedom of choice.

choosegood We can’t recommend GOOD enough — they go so far beyond “good enough” in every respect, from the compelling content, to the fantstic design and art direction, to their sustainable choice of paper stock. So go ahead and get your subscription to GOOD — it’s a solid investment, in both your personal growth and in your contribution to causes larger than yourself.

16 JANUARY, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Word-of-Mouths

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Salt mines, German sanatoriums, and how a social media rescue mission saved one lovable photographic underdog.

JPG logo Print is dying. You hear it everywhere. And over the past couple of years, a number of excellent publications have indeed folded. (Business 2.0 and JANE, we’re looking at you.) But the latest title to be kicked into a publishing coma, JPG Magazine, ended up as a weird ray of light for the relationship between traditional and new media.

Here’s the story in a nutshell.

JPG Magazine In 2005, husband and wife duo Heather Champ and Derek Powazek set out to found a magazine where the content was completely user-created and voted on by other users, so that the best of the best ends up in the print publication. (Published photos receive $100 to stash with their pride and glory.) A truly democratic magazine, if you will.

A magazine that brought us the alphabet in the sky…

type in the sky

…and the aerial wonder (yep, we’re going at it again) of Utah’s salt mines…

Moab salt mine

…and the beautiful decay of an early 20th century German sanatorium.

blue.

Unsurprisingly, JPG amassed a significant base of dedicated loyalists over the years — people passionate about both photography and the idea of an inclusive arena for photographic excellence open to more than just the handful of professional photographers circulating all the other photo pubs. A place for up-and-coming talent to truly showcase their work.

But in late 2008, something left JPG supporters utterly distraught: Editor Laura Brunow Miler announced the magazine was folding under the pressure of funding.

Issue 19: Faith That’s when the social media rescue mission started. Supporters quickly launched SaveJPG.com and unleashed a flurry of Twitter and Flickr buzz that eventually landed JPG several big-time acquisition offers. As a result, the magazine was resurrected and just launched into a new future with the latest issue, appropriately titled Faith.

And while we love a good underdog story as much as the next guy, we must admit there was one wonderful upside to the temporary downside of JPG’s existence: One motivated fan, Derek Steen, put together a comprehensive PDF archive of every JPG issue ever published — 223.4MB of free goodness — so grab yours and start catching up, or head over to the Faith issue and see what all the fuss was about.

via Photojojo