Image by ecstaticist via Flickr
I won’t be able to make it this year—and actually, it’s been way too long since I’ve been able to make my way up to Hollyhock—but there’s an annual event happening there this June that anyone should consider, if social change is their bag.
It’s the Social Change Institute, and it runs this year from June 8 to 12. I attended one five years ago with Alex that not only introduced me to dozens of fascinating people doing tremendous work in many aspects of social change, but also led to one of the projects Social Signal is proudest of, Tyze.
Here’s the word on this year’s Institute:
We are pleased to welcome you for the 2011 Social Change Institute at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. Join organizations and leaders working towards practical solutions to timely local and global issues, in a collaborative and fun 5 day intensive at Canada’s renowned lifelong learning centre.
Emerging themes and outcomes include:
- Cross sector relationship building
- Breakout Skills and Tools sessions
- Inspiring and informative updates from selected issue areas
- Case Studies: Participants focus as a group on an individual organization’s challenges
- Focus Forums: Participant led hot topics
- Confidential Problem Solving small groups
- One on one intensive consulting sessions with experts
- And everything Hollyhock.ca can offer you in terms of side benefits: fabulous local food from the ocean and garden, nature hikes, bodywork, hot tubs, socials, music, rest, and face to face time with the ocean and the forest.
Contact Hollyhock at 1-800-933-6339 or Stina at 604-612-8563 for more information. Or head over to our online home base: http://www.scihollyhock.org
Two enterprising folks dropped by the Yellow Page Group corporate headquarters in Montreal and built a small mountain of more than 500 unwanted Yellow Page directories in front of it… and interviewed a YPG rep brave enough to defend the indefensible.
(How enterprising? One is Aimee Davison, who is currently blogging about doing 100 interesting jobs by the end of the year. The other is Kyle MacDonald, whom you may remember as the guy who traded a single red paper clip for a house.) (Not all at once. He traded steadily up.)
There’s a lot to like about this video, but let me single out just one thing: the fact that the corporate rep is there at all, and is allowed to make her case. That ultimately makes the piece far more effective and persuasive; you hear the pro-Yellow Pages argument, but see it contradicted by the video evidence the video-makers gathered.
The staggeringly bogus “only one per cent of Canadians opt out” argument might be my favourite moment, though. That number might well be accurate. But…
- Given how little effort YPG puts into promoting their opt-out web page, and the fact you have to keep renewing your opted-out status, I’m pretty impressed that it’s that high.
- And ask yourself: how high would it be if people had to opt in using the same process?
To opt out of getting the Yellow Pages:
(one blogger to another) It’s called Blog Inaction Day. We all vote on an urgent issue, then blog about how it needs more study.
If you or someone you know has an intellectual or developmental disability, then you’re probably already aware of the dire and growing problems faced by B.C. families in this situation as they try to get the services they need:
Our members are angry and frustrated about the large waitlists for service from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) and the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD). It is now estimated that there is 2500 adults and thousands of children with disabilities waiting for support that people need to function in the community and to relieve the pressure on families.
The waitlists are not new. We have been talking about them for many years. The difference now is that the waitlists are longer and the system has never been more convoluted and perverse – ask any parent trying to get support for their family member.
We have been polite so far – waiting to see what the creation of CLBC would mean and having faith in what seemed to be the good intentions of the new government. But enough time has gone by without adequate support for people with disabilities. It is time for change.
That’s from a Facebook group that’s formed recently to press the case for waitlist reductions. They’re promising to start ramping up action around the end of January, including a virtual rally.
If this speaks to you – whether it’s because you know someone in this situation or because you don’t like to see people wait forever for badly needed services – I hope you’ll consider joining their group. I have.
(For more info, check out the End Waitlists Now blog and this CBC News story on children with special needs in BC.)
Disclosure: I’ve worked with the group’s administrator, Kevin Lusignan, as part of Social Signal’s work on Untape.com with BACI, the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.
There’s this French initiative that has caught on well beyond the country’s borders: turning off our lights for five minutes in the evening on Thursday, February 1st. (That’s 10:55 am to 11:00 am our time here in B.C.)It’s meant to draw attention for the need for action on climate change:
Why February 1st? Because the next day, in Paris, the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be released. This event will take place in France; we can’t pass up this opportunity to focus attention on the urgency of the global climate situation. (my translation)
The idea has taken hold, passed along on blogs and email lists around the world. The idea isn’t to save the world by reducing energy consumption by a tiny amount (although, hey, every bit helps) â€“ it’s to raise awareness and signal just how broad support is for urgent, coordinated action.
At a time when even the Harper Conservatives are realizing they need to make some changes, this is an opportunity to push the powers that be all the harder. So vote with your fingers: switch off the lights, shut down your laptops, turn off the radio… and let’s find out just how much power there can be in powering down.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve begun blogging at Corante’s Civic Minded blog, your guide to the political impact of the web. My inaugural post begins like this:
When I worked in a Member of Parliament’s office back in the early 1990s, our office â€“ like those of our colleagues â€“ was inundated with an unending stream of petitions, pre-printed form letters, faxes and actual mail. Sifting through it all took up a huge amount of time (and incurred more than a little staff resentment).
These communications varied wildly in impact. We often took the effort required by a particular medium as a rough proxy for the level of sender’s depth of feeling and commitment. A personally written letter, for instance, carried a lot more weight than a lowly mass-printed postcard, which was maybe a little more significant than a petition.
And if a tangible, paper-based petition is unlikely to soften the flinty hearts in the corridors of power, you can how much hope their electronic kin have. Point-and-click protest is so easy to do â€“ and for that reason, just as easy to ignore in the face of so many competing demands for attention.
So my heart usually sinks whenever I receive yet another appeal to go sign yet another e-petition. With a very few exceptions (such as the petition to change Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day’s first name to “Doris” in 2000), and despite the hopes of their sponsors, they almost always wrap up without making a dent in public policy.
But now British Prime Minister Tony Blair seems interested in rescuing the lowly e-petition from irrelevance. Earlier this month, his office launched a remarkable experiment with online petitions.
You can read the rest of the post here.