Charity Tag Meme

I was meme tagged by someone I’ve never even heard of just before the New Year (James McGovern of “Thought Leadership”), who picked up on the “five things about me” meme and said wouldn’t it be nice if we got people to think about charities instead and try and put the world to rights, rather than just do the standard blogger thing of wittering on and on about ourselves.

Well, bugger me. The lad has a point. I’d firstly like to apologise for taking so long to get round to it. Secondly, I’d like to point out he’s cheeky by implying he’s only tagging the mentioned bloggers plus one other, when it is apparent he’s tagged many more from the links to the post. Thirdly, I’m going to take part, and finally I’m going to viciously tag Joe Dolson, Emma Sax, Blair Millen, Jim O’Donnell and Mel Pedley. Anyone else who wants to join in is more than welcome, too. Please, please, don’t wait to be asked. It’s about raising the profiles of charities, so I’m making it clear, this is an open invite. I just didn’t want to ask the same people as I usually do (although I’d be delighted if they took part too).

What I want you to do is to name five charities or good causes and explain why we should be supporting them in 2007. We’re probably not going to change the world, but maybe just thinking about it will be a start.

It’s important to note that I’m not putting these in any order. These are five different things that I feel are worthy causes that deserve to be supported. If you’ve got any spare time, or any spare cash, why not do what you can to help them out?

And here they are:

Live 8

Live 8 wasn’t so much a fundraising event as an awareness-raising event. Driven by the inspirational figure of Big Bad Bob (who doesn’t like Mondays), this event was simply about telling our world leaders that we didn’t want to screw over poorer countries, that we wanted to ensure that in the 21st Century, the copious consumption of the west wouldn’t lead to grinding poverty and starvation elsewhere.

It was no great surprise to me that our world leaders — who would no doubt claim that they are not puppets of big business — should pay little more than lip service to the event and continue to implement trade policies that place the poorer countries at further disadvantage.

Bob, what you need to organise isn’t a pop concert, mate. A fucking global revolution is what you need. Nice try though.

A worthy cause, organised by an inspired, passionate and self-confessed grumpy old man. Unfortunately our politicos didn’t do what we demanded. Probably mostly because what we demand is a solution to all the world’s problems without us having to pay more for it.

Friends Of The Earth

Currently we’re doing our best to deplete the world’s resources, drive countless species into extinction, melt the polar ice caps, cause global warming and generally fuck up the planet. Call me controversial if you will, but it is my contention that we shouldn’t be doing these things.

For that reason, I’d like to nominate Friends Of The Earth one of the charities that is worthy of note. Unfortunately, like the rest of ‘em, they don’t get any money by being listed here. But maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will consider helping out one or more of the charities I mention. That, I would contend, would be a job well done.

Amnesty International

When I hear of some of the cruel, sadistic and inhuman ways in which people are systematically treated then it makes me despair for the world. I have to remind myself that the people who act in such brutal and unpleasant ways are a small minority, a tiny proportion of the world’s population. The human race isn’t inherently bad. We may be self-centred, vain, selfish and inconsiderate as a species, but we’re also capable of great kindness and great acts of selflessness as well as those of cruelty and inhumanity.

The minor drawback is that these cruel and inhumane ones tend to be the ones with power and influence — and they like it that way, thank you very much.

I don’t believe in torture. I don’t believe in cruel and unusual punishment. I don’t believe in the persecution of political prisoners. I do believe Amnesty International do a good job in raising the profile of particular cases and highlighting human rights abuses across the world.

The problem — like with Live8, and like with Friends of the Earth, is that those people who have the power to change things have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Bob, Bob, are you listening? We’re ready for our revolution now…

The Big Issue

I don’t really know whether this is just a UK thing, or whether there are equivalents of the Big Issue elsewhere around the world, but basically, the Big Issue is a news, views, reviews and listings magazine that is produced in the UK and is sold by homeless people.

A certain proportion of the cover price goes to the seller, with the remainder going to pay for the costs, distribution and so on. Vendors have to abide by an agreed code of conduct (word doc). This basically means the vendors aren’t allowed to beg, use aggressive or offensive behaviour, be under the influence of drink or drugs while acting as a vendor and so on. Furthermore, your vendor badge should be displayed at all times, you should only sell the Big Issue at recognised sites and so on.

Basically, it’s a sound idea to help homeless people help themselves.

Unfortunately, most people continue to walk past Big Issue sellers (and anyone else in a similar position) and pretend that they haven’t seen them or that they don’t exist. You don’t have to buy one if you don’t want to, but at least have the decency to acknowledge the seller as a fellow human being.

If you are one of those people who doesn’t relate at all to your fellow human beings (i.e. you’re a complete sociopath) you could try saying something like:

  • No thanks, mate. I don’t want one

That’s all you need to do. You don’t have to pretend you’ve got no money. You don’t have to pat your trouser pockets — making sure not to tap the coins as that would be a dead giveaway — before shrugging your shoulders and walking off. Just say “no thanks, mate.” or an equivalent thereof. It’s not hard.

All you have to do is to look at the seller, treat them as a human being and recognise that they deserve an acknowledgement at least. If you want to help, buy one. If you don’t want to help that’s perfectly all right too, just don’t pretend that you weren’t even aware they were there.

Joe Clark’s Micropatronage Project

Not, strictly speaking, a charity, but as I’m taking part in this meme, I’m going to bend the rules a little, and it is a good cause. Joe Clark is seeking to raise $7,777 (and last time I checked, he was three-quarters of the way there) to provide subsistence money to allow him to work as a full-time fundraiser for a period of months for the Open and Closed Project.

The Open and Closed project is a project dear to Joe’s heart. What it is seeking to do is to carry out research and produce standards for subtitling and captioning so that there will be a recognised international standard to allow subtitles and captions to be of the greatest possible benefit.

As I know next to nothing about subtitling and captioning (my experience is limited to getting the words to appear on the telly by pressing 888 when the kids are being loud), I’ve probably phrased this all wrong.

Nonetheless, Joe knows what he’s doing. He’s also very, very passionate about this. If he can make this work — and if anyone can, he can — then it will be something of real and genuine benefit to a whole lot of people. So if you’ve got a few spare quid, euros, dollars, or even just a fistful of loose change, why not pass it his way?

There. That’s my list. Who do you think is worthy of a few quid?

One Response to “Charity Tag Meme”

  1. Joe Dolson responds:

    Huh. Well, I’m feeling tagged in a good cause…will have to do some mulling!

    (Charities first, wine second).

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