The problem – civil obedience

Matt Damon reads from Howard Zinn’s speech “The Problem is Civil Obedience” (November 1970) from Voices of a People's History on Vimeo.

‘This performance was part of “The People Speak, Live!” with Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco at the Metro in Chicago, on January 31, 2012, produced by Voices of a People’s History (peopleshistory.us) in collaboration with Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.’

Suspended coffee – small random acts of kindness

‘Every once in a while an idea comes along with the potential to truly make the world a better place. Suspended Coffee is one of those ideas.’ #suspendedcoffees

I heard about this months ago and have been meaning to feature it. You walk into a coffee shop and instead of buying just one cup of coffee for you, you buy two, or more. One for yourself and one for someone in need.

The tradition began in the working-class cafés of Naples (about 100 years ago so the story goes). Someone who’d experienced good luck would order a ‘sospeso’. They’d pay the price of two coffees and one would be kept for someone who may need it. A caffè sospeso (suspended coffee).

The UK arm of coffee chain Starbucks signed up for a charity initiative based on the suspended coffee concept in April 2013. I know it’s Starbucks so slightly taints they idea! Starbucks said it would match the value of each suspended coffee with a cash donation to the Oasis charity. I guess they can afford to with all the money they should be paying for tax.

Other shops are expanding the idea to cover cookies and other food. The Facebook page in the UK has designed “Suspended Coffee Supporter” logos which shops can display on their doors so you know which are on board. Hopefully some shops would donate any money left over at the end of each month to a good cause, which may be a concern for sceptics who think shops may benefit.

Will you buy a suspended coffee?

José Mujica donates 90% of his salary: the world’s poorest or richest president?

José Alberto Mujica Cordano was elected the Uruguayan president in 2010. He’s not only a vegetarian but he’s a very kind man. He’s known as the ‘world’s poorest president’ quite an accolade, as he donates 90%, yes 90% of his salary to charity and small entrepreneurs. He takes home around £485 and donates £7,500.

He’s described as an ‘anti-politician’ and a man ‘who speaks the language of the people’, no surprise then that he created the Movement of Popular Participation and is a lefty. Some may think he’s an eccentric man but his actions make a lot of sense:

This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself” the BBC reported.

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty. But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet” – hear hear

Some think he’s mad, I say he’s a hero and understands life. Surely this makes him the richest president.

Playing for change – music for positive social change

Music has the power to break down boundaries, some say music is a religion. But unlike religion, it has the universal power to unite us as one global community, despite our beliefs, economic status or distance.

Playing for Change was set up as a music movement, watch the video below, which has over 46million views – surely proof that such a movement has mass support. They set up a mobile recording studio and cameras initially, to travel the globe recording musicians.

Now musicians from all over the world perform benefit concerts. The money raised helps to build music and art schools in under priviledged communities and really makes a difference.

They also do partnerships with brands. Okaidi designed a special line of PFC t-shirts to be sold in over 700 stores worldwide. They committed 1 euro per T-Shirt sold to go to supporting the PFC musicians and music education programs. It doesn’t stop there.

There’s also now a Playing for Change Day on Sept 21. Last year they had 225 music events in 41 countries, on 6 continents which raised nearly  $70k, money which also helps support the programmes.

Music really does have the power to change the world and create positive social change.