February 13, 2009
Personal despair about the growing global crisis is a direct function of disconnection and powerlessness. Climate change, hunger, warfare, poverty, the Middle East, the corruption of democracy in the USA - it all seems so overwhelming. Our tiny individual actions seem so pathetic compared to what’s happening, and yet switching off does not make the despair go away. It simply etches it deeper into our souls. Unless we are careful, we risk turning into gloomy or angry cynics.
The spirit of life can never be suppressed, however. It’s like a perennial Phoenix, always dreaming up new hopes, actions, and ways to intervene. In January 2007, a group of people who understood the power of the Internet decided it was time global opinion had a global voice. They founded Avaaz.org as a global web movement with a simple democratic mission: to close the gap between the world we have, and the world most people everywhere want.
The Avaaz community now has 3.4 million members in every country of the world, growing by 40,000 people a week, who have taken 7.7 million actions over issues as diverse as Tibet, the world food crisis, democracy in Zimbabwe, and the Israel/Palestine conflict. They have helped secure a global treaty banning cluster bombs, successfully campaigned for a ceasefire in Gaza, helped bring the President of Sudan to trial for genocide in Darfur, and pushed the G-8 leader to do more than waffle on climate change.
To add your voice to the global chorus, go to www.avaaz.org. And have hope: when it comes to global organizing, we have only just begun. And here’s an interview with Ricken Patel, Avaaz’s founder.
First published in EcoNews: A monthly newsletter funded by your donations that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, and the joys of personal fulfillment, guided and protected by our active citizenship.