Cool online stuff you should see

Summer is in full swing around here, which, this week, means that I’m actually teaching dozens of young children in Vacation Church School this week, in addition to my ‘regular’ summer activities.

And the weather is heating up, so, today, I bring you a list of really cool online stuff that you should see, if you haven’t already. Basically, I spend quite a bit of time looking at social justice-y things on the Internet, sometimes finding something that particularly catches my eye and inspires an entire blog post.

More frequently, though, these links get copied and put into an empty blog post, without a definitive idea of what I’ll do with them. Here are those that I’ve encountered in the past several weeks, in no particular order. I’d love if you have your own cool stuff to share during these warm weeks.

Yeah, I’m still crowdsourcing.

  • This was shared a lot on social media, so you may have seen it already, but I’m going to be using this brief video on wealth inequality in some of my classes this year. It’s worth checking out–we have enough, if we would just have better systems of sharing.
  • I had the chance to work through this interactive tool assessing our ‘slavery footprint’ a few months ago, and I found it online again recently and redid it. Yes, it’s absolutely horrifying, how many slaves–literally, still, today–touch our lives every day. But we should be horrified. And this delivers the horror, very effectively.
  • Beth Kanter had a post about the social mapping utility Ushahidi’s receipt of a MacArthur grant recently. I love maps, and I love crowdsourcing, so I love this. A lot.
  • Another recent Beth Kanter post was about this year’s Blog Carnival, which asked bloggers to think, and then to write, about their big dreams for their nonprofit organizations or causes this year. It’s pretty incredible to see what leaders are dreaming about for their work in 2013, and it’s totally invigorating to imagine what the world will look like if we make those dreams come true.
  • My husband and I are Kickstarter fans–he funded a book about a murder and controversial trial in frontier Kansas, recently, and I have chipped into some organizing and advocacy campaigns. We like microlending sites, too, and Sam has several active loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. Here is another, similar idea, the Pollination Project. They’re giving $1000 seed grants to individual changemakers, one every day for an entire year. It makes me think about who I’d nominate, and how much fun it would be to have money to give away like that, and about the potential for money to incubate social change, even in small doses.
  • In the same ‘doing good with money’ vein, albeit not really as much ‘cool online stuff’ (but you can read about it online, so, I mean, there), check out this story about the lottery winners from my neighboring state who are using their winnings to invest in their hometown, including improved recreational facilities for youth and a needed water treatment plant. What I love about this story, even more than the generosity, is what they bought–social goods, investments in the commons. Because those things still matter. And communities shouldn’t have to wait for someone to win the lottery to have them.
  • In doing the research for the infographic post a few weeks ago, I came across a couple that I wanted to highlight, both about social change. First, from Mashable, about how many Americans have engaged in social change activity and, similarly, I like the way these infographics look and how they communicate their message, but I like even more what that message itself is–that, far from the stereotype of ‘apathy’, most people are doing something, in some way, to make the world a better place.

  • My good friend from high school, Lenna, started an online fair trade shop last year called One Degree South. The premise is beautiful: she works collaboratively with female artisans in Kenya to design incredible jewelry and textiles and then sells them directly to buyers, online, for fair prices. It has brought stability and higher income standards to women formerly living in poverty in the developing world. And terrific jewelry to my closet.
  • I love this blog post from Have Fun Do Good, about a woman who formed an effort to provide diapers to low-income mothers. What I love is that she set out not just to meet an immediate need–diapers are expensive–but also to engage mothers across class lines to push for changes that would support all moms and children.
  • Here’s a list of folks to watch (and I love these lists, because what’s not to love about lifting up inspiring people and giving them some encouragement to keep being awesome?), also from Have Fun Do Good.

What should be added to the list? What warms your heart or brings relief these days? And where can we find it online?

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