Saturday, 31 January 2009

Call to Action

You have the power to make a difference. Yes You.

All around the world, individuals and organizations are making it easier for you to get engaged and get active in making the world a better place.

A great big call to action has gone out to the world - In fashion, music, education, gardening, public space, art, politics etc. The concept of user generated experience (or just getting out and doing stuff), of volunteering time, energy and innovation has re-infiltrated our everyday lives and people are getting together online and on the ground to make incremental changes to their communities in fun and adventurous ways.

Now is the time to take matters into your own hands. Are you ready to get involved?

The Call To Action: Crime Fighting - Mexico City

Mexico called, and Super Barrio answered. Maybe a little to much action for most, Super Barrio is the real life masked crime fighting hero of Mexico City’s working class.

He can be seen in the 2007 feature documentary film Super Amigos where he is joined by companions Super Gay, Super Ecologista, Super Animal and Fray Tormenta as they fight against evil slumlords, corrupt politicians, homophobia, pollution, animal rights abusers, and poverty.

Wearing the traditional Lucha mask of Mexican wrestlers, the heroes patrol the streets of Mexico city fighting injustice. The masks are magical devices that represent the community. With them, the superheroes can be everyone and no one at the same time. The masks are symbols of collective hope.

How You Get Involved: Go see the film, Buy a Tshirt - $8 from every sale goes to help their causes, get inspired into action by their theme songs, or don a lucha mask of your own and go bust some injustice! Kapowee!

The Call To Action: Art - Montreal

Actions: What You Can Do With the City presents 99 actions that instigate positive change in contemporary cities around the world. Held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture between November 2008 to April 2009.

The CCA is challenging citizens to be part of the movement and take actions big or small to change the everyday life of their cities. Whether old or new, submit your photos or videos and share the story. All entries will be displayed on the website and reviewed by the Actions team. Only a handful might make it to the CCA’s Shaughnessy House.

An example of a submission is Michael Rakowitz's paraSITE project using ventilation shafts to create inflatable temporary shelters for the homeless.

How You Get Involved: Submit an entry. Submit a Challenge.

The Call to Action: Fashion – New Orleans

Prom Dresses For New Orleans has a simple goal – help the young ladies who lost everything in Katrina get to the prom.
Many of the residents of New Orleans lost everything... Help make prom possible for the young ladies in Louisiana who no longer have a dress to wear to prom. Share your past prom and party dresses, so that others can experience the joy these dresses brought to you. They still need our help! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

How You Get Involved: Give another girl the chance to regret wearing puffed sleeves and pink satin. Send your worn prom and party dresses to a new home and another night of self conscious dancing.

Call to Action: Politics – Australia
Get Up! is an independent Australian political action group aiming to build a progressive Australia.

GetUp! brings together like-minded people who want to bring participation back into our democracy. is providing Australians with the tools to fight back, and take innovative and effective action on important issues facing our country. GetUp members are building a ground-up movement of real people who are putting the participation back into our democracy. members take action. By signing up for updates, members receive emails alerting them to new campaigns and providing ways of affecting positive change. Whether it is sending an email to a member of parliament, engaging with the media, attending an event or helping to get a television ad on the air, GetUp members are always only ever asked to take targeted, coordinated and strategic action.

How you get involved:
sign up, participate in campaigns.

Call To Action: Education - USA

Once Upon A School is the result of Dave Eggers’ 2008 TED Prive Wish. It is a collaborative online initiative developed to inspire and collect the stories of private citizens engaged in their local public schools.

How you get involved:
Tell stories, Get involved in your local school.

Call to Action: Music – USA & UK... more to come

I should just come out and say that I love Rock Corps. It’s a terrific balance of social action, good solid community work, high profile engagement and damn good fun.

RockCorps harnesses the power of music to inspire volunteering. We produce concerts for which the only way in is to volunteer 4 hours at a project we organize with non-profit partners. You can't win a ticket; you can't buy a ticket; you have to earn a ticket to a concert that becomes a celebration of giving back.

In 2005, we launched a national movement and since that time, more than 30,000 young people have been directly involved in one of our projects. Millions more have heard the message that "Volunteering is Cool".

Rock Corps is partnered with BoostMobile in the USA and with OrangeMobile in the UK. Stay tuned – I’ve heard rumors of new collaborations coming in China and Australia in the next year.

How you get involved: Sign up with friends, work for 4 hours, party.

Call to Action: Leisure – San Francisco/Global

One of the earliest action games, SFZero is a Collaborative Production Game. Players build characters by completing tasks for their groups and increasing their Score. The goals of play include meeting new people, exploring the city, and participating in non-consumer leisure activities.

How you get involved:
Sign up, join a team and get started.

Call to Action: Gardening – London and beyond...

Guerilla gardening is an emerging form of public space reclamation using plants in illicit cultivations on publicly owned land. Lead by Richard Reynolds, author of Guerilla Gardening – A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries, this growing global movement encourages you to get out a trowel and plant a few seeds in any space that needs a little herbaceous helping hand.

How you get involved:
Check out Guirilla Gardening tips at any one of the growing number of specialist blogs, make a seedbomb for some planting pandemonium, grab a trowel and some seedlings and set out on a landscaping mission.

Call to Action: Volunteer – Global

A few years ago I was talking to a friend about how she wanted to volunteer to help out some sort of nonprofit organization. She didn’t know what she wanted to get involved in, but knew that as a financial analyst she had some critical skills to offer. However, as a busy professional she had no way to she could find no way to find out who needed her services. We decided that there needed to be some kind of dating agency for volunteers and organizations that could match skills, locations, availability etc. Unsurprisingly, someone else had the same ideas and created the extremely excellent Volunteer Match.
It does what it says on the tin. It matches volunteers to organizations.

How you get involved: Check out and find an opportunity that’s right for you.

1 comment:

  1. What great stories--and great ideas! I love the combination of an inspiring story with a direct way to get involved. I especially love that they're mostly such simple ways that anyone could do. Often what seem the smallest things make such a big difference. If you're looking for another resource for taking action, I work for UniversalGiving, an online non-profit designed to connect individuals to the best performing projects to donate to or volunteer with, and without taking any cut on donations. If you're interested, you can check us out at

    Cheryl Mahoney