Charitable Giving OnlineWritten by Jesse S. Somer
On-line charities are a perfect place to see how people help world, and inspire you to join a good cause.
It isn't hard to see that a lot of people, animals, and environment in general are being neglected in our world today. That's not to say that a lot of things haven't been improved over time as well. As I come from one of few wealthy nations, I can witness daily both extravagances of greed and injustice of poverty, although of course amount of poverty in my country is far less than in so-called third-world or developing countries. If we watch News (I try not to as it often effects my mood in a detrimental way) we can also see all kinds of issues relating to sustainability of our planet and its natural creatures that live in our interconnected space. However, we often seem to be separating ourselves from Nature that actually provides us with all elements we need to survive in present and in future.
There are differing opinions on how we as developed countries can help rest of humanity to move forward. Some more 'primitive' societies might argue that they don't need our help or want our type of modern lifestyle anyway. In Bhutan instead of GDP they have GDH or Gross Domestic Happiness. In thinking that happiness is more important than money maybe we really don't have too much to give or teach these people. Bhutan is a minority however and truth is that many countries could do with our support both in terms of finance and in sharing of skills and knowledge.
Many people don't seem to believe in giving to charities or non-profit organizations. I read recently in an Oxfam International article that of 22 rich countries who promised a mere 0.7% of their GDP, only five have come through with goods. It's also documented case that most of charity given in world is by individuals, and not rich ones like you'd think, a huge proportion of America's charity is given by people in lower income brackets. This may be because they can emphasize with marginalized as they too know what it is like to have little. It may also be case that they are also happier with what they have as opposed to often-obsessive consumer who always feels that they haven't got enough and need more material possessions.
A friend of mine says that way to help others isn't by giving aid but by going and helping to build infrastructure and to change belief systems about economics and progress. The hard thing for most of us is we don't see a means to implement these changes. I can definitely see where monetary aid can be of great help, especially when people have to live in tragic circumstances as in recent Tsunami in Southeast Asia. Sometimes people simply need shelter, food, water, clothes, blankets and medicine to survive and thankfully there are several organizations whose sole purpose is to fulfill this need. Even with their help, around 30,000 children still die everyday in our world. If we all gave just a couple of dollars a day that we usually spend on chocolate or coffee much of this poverty could be alleviated.
Freedom on the InternetWritten by Jesse S. Somer
The Internet brings freedom to speak your mind, but what if you're not allowed to use it?
Throughout all recorded history on our lovely little planet, Earth's human beings have been concerned with a few main ideals. One of these is idea of freedom. Freedom, what is it? What does it mean to you? To look at it simply and in context of communication, I'd say that it is right to express oneself within certain moral boundaries. Recently I have discovered that incredible tool of Internet is being infected by some of our imperfect human beliefs (a sign of perfect balance in Nature). Check out a website called 'Reporters Without Borders'. This site is dedicated to both freedom of speech for masses as well as to safety of people who are trying to share true unadulterated stories with wider community. In site's Internet section I came across a new article about MSN Spaces, blogging software from one of America's and world's biggest companies, Microsoft. Well, it seems that in China they have agreed to have words 'democracy' and 'Dalai Lama' completely rejected by system, therefore censoring every on-line journal in China using this software. Looking at Dalai Lama I don't get a feeling of hostile intent...
This comes just after China announced that all blogs and websites have to be registered through government's authority. After enquiring about how to put an independent blog on Net a hopeful Chinese Internet user was told not to even bother trying to get back on Net. The government now has real-time tools to 'watch' what people are saying at any given moment, and if you are deemed as writing something subversive you better watch your back, as you will be dubbed a cyber dissident. On website they've got a list of a large number of these 'criminals' who have been imprisoned in many different countries. A court case begins today for a Chinese man who wrote some punk music lyrics on his site. He could be put away for a long time. I'm not joking here, there are a lot of people sitting in cells, many of which are put through all kinds of torture. I'm lucky I'm not in China or one of these other often-repressively ruled countries or I'd be called a dissident just for writing these controversial words.