For the past two years, I worked to raise awareness and funds to help stem the pressing environmental crises of our time: water, energy, climate. It was a great and successful run and I felt extremely lucky to be employed full-time doing what I love in support of critical causes that I believe in.
But regardless of the focus of my efforts (or career), my pet causes persistently tug at my soul.
What do I mean by “pet causes?” It has nothing to do with pets. Or rocks for that matter.
photo by Claudio Gennari shared via Creative Commons license.
When I was a freshman at University of Iowa and finally arrived at the age of independence, I thought: “We’re on the verge of a revolution and I’m ready, along with my new-found peers and old high school buds, to take on the world and turn it on its head.” I was pretty much like every other 18-year-old in that respect.
But as we grow and the world around us invariably and abruptly changes in both inexplicable and awesome ways, we start to think we might need to guard or cherish that which we find essential, lest it gets taken from younger generations. After all, it doesn’t take a long time at university to realize that you’ve got it better than many.
What I saw growing up and discovering the world in the mid- to late-’90s was a U.S. carelessly at the top of its game on the verge of imminent denouement and with a widening gap between the haves and have nots. The dumbing down of our nation had begun spiraling out of control and it wasn’t even the Bush 43 administration yet.
I began to get angry about certain things that I was afforded yet others were not. Nothing extreme, nothing impossible, just middle class luxuries that I refused to take for granted and to this day hope to see universally available – at least on a hyperlocal level.
My Pet Causes:
- The Arts in Public Education
- Internet (specifically broadband) for All
Arts in Education:
I learned to read music at age five – piano lessons. By second grade we played the recorder in music class. I probably had a crush on my third grade art teacher. Didn’t we all?
But by the time I got to high school, art and music classes were already getting stripped from public schools thanks to a budget crunch. And they never would recover. Fast forward to 2010 and it’s beyond blaming TV, video games, or the internet. Creativity is going out of style. It’s no longer an option. This is bad.
Broadband for All
I’m sick enough right now about LA public libraries shutting down every Sunday and Monday. The fact that we can’t bolster our society by at least subsidizing access to high-speed internet is a goddamn shame. I’ve reported on all the OECD broadband surveys in which the U.S. consistently shows up in the bottom half. Obama has presented a plan. Let’s make it happen… and more.
What you can do:
A little bit goes a long way and just by reading this far, you’ve (at least subconsciously) helped my pet causes. Please visit the following websites for more info and to take action:
- Americans for the Arts – http://www.artsusa.org/ – and on Causes.
- Quincy Jones – “Arts Education in America“
- Digital Divide — Networkforgood, SpeedMatters.org
- The Atlantic — “Liberty and Broadband for All“
What are your pet causes?