So far this week, I have written to my local MP to urge him to vote against a sneaky government move to stop members of parliament from having to declare their expenses, helped with a fund-raising effort for a campaign to abolish the death penalty in the US, and signed an Amnesty International petition calling for accountability for alleged war crimes in Gaza.
All worthy causes, all of which came directly to my inbox, and none of which took more than 10 minutes to do.
This is one of the joys of the internet for me. It is easier than ever to involve yourself in protests, sign petitions and annoy your local elected representatives without leaving the comfort of your sofa. I take great pleasure in annoying Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, by the way. It gives me a great sense of involvement and mischief.
Facebook is full of campaigns that very quickly accrue memberships in the millions. Ok, a lot of them are quite frivolous (I’m guilty of joining a few of those myself) but the point is that you can make your voice heard on any issue that you feel strongly about with very little effort. This can be desperately important. Amnesty’s Urgent Action Network uses email alerts to very quickly garner responses to rapidly developing human rights crises, and let’s face it, the government seems to be happy with the idea of online petitioning.
Mobilising vast numbers of people quickly and easily is always going to be the best way of raising awareness of your cause, and the push towards social networking here at the start of the 21st century has really helped that along. In our way, we’re all armchair activists now.
With that in mind then, a bit of a confession.
Really, this post has been all about highlighting some of my favourite causes of the moment in a fashion that may just inspire you to click on some of the links, and maybe, just maybe, start contributing. Go ahead. Grab yerself a cuppa and have a nose. Do something good in your tea break.