Friday, June 09, 2006

Pursuing Awareness... One Email at a Time

I worry about being insufficiently informed about the world around me... and feel guilty about it. I care about human rights and the environment and a lot of things that I don’t make the time to educate myself properly about. To tell the truth, I always have this vague feeling that if I was a better person, I’d quit my job and volunteer to do humanitarian aid work... in spite of the fact that I have absolutely no skills that would make me qualified for it.

So I have come up with a solution - or at least a place to start - that fits into my busy schedule. For women like me, who care about what’s going on in the world around them but are still struggling to stay up to speed and find ways to get involved, it is easier if the information comes to YOU. So I signed up for the newsletters from a few reputable organizations that address issues I care about.

I’m going to list some email newsletters and services I located ( I just signed up for a few - if you get too many newsletters, you stop reading them!). I hope you find something that interests you enough to sign up for one yourself. And remember that a lot of these organizations have shops where you can get T-shirts, bumper stickers or tote bags that tell the world about the issues that matter to you AND offer financial support to those organizations!

Amnesty International’s Online Action Center This page offers the option to sign up for the Women’s Human Rights Network newsletter as well as a variety of newsletters on other Human Rights issues

The National Organization for Women has a sign up at the top of their home page. You don’t have to give out address info if you prefer not to and you pick which newsletters you want to have emailed to you!

The V-Mail newsletter for the V-Day movement “includes news of upcoming events, messages from Eve Ensler (the author of The Vagina Monologues), and opportunities for participating in campaigns”

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) emails “the latest NAACP Press Releases and Action Alerts. You will receive an email anytime a new Press Release is Added.”

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) email network “Stay informed and involved with the latest news and information on civil liberties and ACLU Activities.”

UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) Newsletter “Learn about challenges, hope and progress for children worldwide, and the impact of UNICEF's work.”

Greenpeace International’s monthly e-zine includes “ways you can help our campaigns for a green and peaceful Earth -- everything from opportunities to volunteer to simple actions you can take with a few clicks of your mouse: you decide.”

The Humane Society will send you “action alerts, tips, news, and special offers via e-mail.”

We’re not going to change the world just by knowing something (just like I’m not going to change the world by recycling all my empty bottles and cans) but it’s a start. Making a conscious choice to be aware is important. And the more people pay attention to what’s going on in the world around them, the more that information will spread. The situation in Darfur may never replace the latest episode of “American Idol” as a water cooler topic, but if we’re better informed, maybe humanitarian and environmental issues will become a part of our daily dialog.

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