en English

“Everyone a changemaker…” ~ Ashoka


Where do you begin, when you want to change the world?

Talk with those you love and respect – always a good beginning. Compare notes on what you think is important, what issues appeal to you. Then of course comes the homework, the research. 

The Humanity Initiative has investigated hundreds of activist sites to discover the most compelling opportunities for positive change — organizations that have a legacy of vision, courage, and hard work — and that of course welcome volunteers. 

Here below is our current selection of the most effective, efficient, clear-sighted, and planet-affirming non-profits on Earth.

First a quick shout out: In the inaugural issue of humanity (published in 1989), we featured an article on Ashoka, founded only eight years earlier by Bill Drayton. He, in fact, created the “changemaker revolution” and Ashoka is a captivating place to begin an investigation.

First edition of our journal, humanity

“The Humanity Top Ten” – for 2022

Amnesty International (1961)
www.amnesty.org

Ashoka, Innovators for the Public (1980)
www.ashoka.org

Doctors Without Borders (1971)
www.msf.org

Human Rights Watch (1978)
www.hrw.org

International Peace Bureau (1891)
www.ipb.org

International Rescue Committee (1931)
www.rescue.org

Rainforest Action Network (1985)
www.ran.org

Refugees International (1979)
www.refugeesinternational.org

Rotary International (1905)
www.rotary.org

World Wide Fund for Nature (1961)
www.panda.org


Rawas River, Sumatra / by Jimmy Nelson

Here are a half-dozen further candidates for your curiosity:

Charity: Water (2006) Charity: Water brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.


Earth Law Center (2008) Earth Law Center is a “think, share and do” organization that promotes recognition of the intrinsic value, interdependence, and legal rights of all Earth’s inhabitants and ecosystems.

Global Exchange (1988) Global Exchange is a research, education, and action centre dedicated to promoting people-to-people ties around the world. At the GXsite you can get involved in fair trade, education, global economy or human rights campaigns

International Volunteers for Peace (1920) IVP is an Australian community group, with an international perspective and contact branches in 50 countries world-wide. Its activities encourage understanding of social justice and environmental harmony.

The United Nations Volunteers Program (1971) UNV supports human development globally by promoting volunteerism and by mobilizing volunteers. 

Search for Common Ground (1982) SCG is works to transform the way the world deals with conflict: away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions.


“Hope, Unity, Love” / by Charlotte Bassin

How to Transform Apocalypse Fatigue

Into Action on Global Warming

Here is Per Espen Stoknes speaking on the importance of climate action. The Norwegian psychologist and politician weaves together psychology and economics in imaginative ways, often revolving around our human relationships with the natural world and each other. 

He describes five inner defences that prevent people from actively engaging with climate change: distance, doom, cognitive dissonance, denial, and our own identity. He then goes on to present ways in which we can move beyond them and toward a more brain-friendly type of climate communication that can help us make caring for our planet feel personable, doable, and empowering.


“To The Changemakers”

(short essay)

There is, of course, no end to the magnificence and horror in the human drama. Across the continents, humanity rises to every challenge, sinks to any depth. We bless nature’s miracles yet destroy them at will. 

We accept this polarity as human nature then move on in our ‘glassy essence’. All the while our righteousness lords over other life; yet we beseech gods for mercy. Our anger flares to violence; yet we demand justice. We covet ceaselessly, give generously. We disregard our home Earth, pursuing science and technology towards blind success.

Not least, so many suffer relentlessly, wondering each day at living another. So many are refugees from disaster or violence, escaping under unfamiliar skies to avoid a closer death, grasping whatever it is they have left – their child, ragged clothes, a pot, a blanket. So many are victims of injustice, of the vagaries of despotism or of ill luck, with no legal system to which they can bring their wisps of hope.

Especially with the rapidly increasing vulnerability of life on Earth, how do we come to terms with this ‘marble and mud’ of our existence? How do we resurrect our humanity?

Within the stirrings of the last decade, there seemed a new grace born upon this world, a clearer understanding that our living – this heavenly breath of existence – must embrace an inherent responsibility towards the lives of all sentient beings. But it is a grace too often foundering on the greed and selfishness and myopia of the few, not raising the hopes and prospects of the many. 

As our universal, intertwined fate becomes even more commanding, endlessly examined in our journals and debating chambers, in our barber shops and coffee houses; as leaders from all cultures increasingly commit to finding new ways to address poverty, war, famine, injustice and disease, let us again tilt world indeed towards the side of the angels. Let us lean together in kind accord with all the energy and enlightenment we can summon and honor this fragile, transcendent web of life gifted us by the gods. 

Let us ask ourselves in profound reverence for life, “How deeply do I care about our common future? How can I make a positive difference?”

~ by Tony Balis


“There are seven sins in the world: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

THI’s Museum of Inspiration (in progress)

Inspiration comes in many ways: from painting, sculpture, film, literature, speeches, poetry  –  the list is endless. The simple gift of awakening in another person the ability or willingness to create helps make the world a fascinating, dynamic place. So let’s celebrate and explore the many sources of inspiration that encourage humanity to thrive. 

Inspire means to fill with a supernatural power or energy; to affect so as to enliven, animate, or especially, stimulate. This bibliography intends to fully embrace the range of all that inspires people.

We have listed below 31 categories that we will be curating with your suggestions (peace@humanity.org). In selecting candidates, please consider whatever has inspired your life. What films or poetry have driven you to express yourself or have made you optimistic about the future of our world? What speeches have moved you to action? Or was it the Northern Lights or perhaps a random witness of kindness in a far village?

Music, plays, artwork, film, sculpture, architecture, essays, poetry, photographs — whatever has truly moved you. 

Top ten lists are overdone and limiting. Ranking entries only adds an unnecessary layer of subjective reasoning to a process that is already based on individual thinking.

This museum project is successful only if we include suggestions and comments from across the continents, from many cultures, many experiences, many lives. Please share this invitation with friends and associates.

Adornment (clothing, jewelry, etc…)

Architecture

Thomas Jefferson, Monticello USA 

Antoni Gaudi, Sagrada Familia, Spain

The Alhambra, Spain

Art/Painting

“The Negress” Henri Matisse

Rick Rivet, Canadian First Nations

Art/Sculpture

Art/Illustration

Art/Digital

Astrobiology

Business

         IBM’s Smarter Planet Initiative, begun in 2008.

Culinary Arts (food, farming, agriculture)

Dance

Film

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/festival/openingFilm.php

Ghandi 

Agora

Rabbit Proof Fence 

2001: A Space Odyssey

“Humanistic film and media emphasizes human stories and seeks to define what is common among people rather than what separates us. In general, humanistic media has a message of reconciliation, even as such reconciliation arises from struggle and conflict, comedy or tragedy.  Moreover, through tolerance and compassion, humanistic stories promote understanding and empathy between people, rather than dehumanize people into opposing camps where ‘the other’ is separate from ‘us’, whether that is because of race, religion, or political affiliation. A humanistic vision offers an alternative to a mythic world view that promotes melodramatic stereotypes and shallow storytelling.”  

~  Don Thjompson, October 2009, Netpix.com (http://nextpix.com/v1_1/projects/humanmedia.html)

Government/Politics

Humor

Marcel Marceau 

Charlie Chaplin 

Victor Borge 

Robin Williams

Josie Long 

Industrial Design

Landscape Design

Literature/Fiction

Literature/Non-fiction

Literature/Children’s

Literature/Poetry

Neruda

Hafiz

Anna Akamatova

Hayden Carruth

Franz Wright’s “Night Walk”

Literature/Essays

Literature/Autobiography

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint- Exupery 

Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela 

Middlemarch – George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) 

Let us now Praise Famous Men – James Agee and Walker Evans 

Up From Slavery – Booker Taliaferro Washington

Walden – Henry David Thoreau 

Spectacle – David Rockwell and Bruce Mau

Perverse Optimist – Tibor Kalman

The Opposable Mind – Roger Martin 

The Heart Aroused – David Whyte

Medicine

Mother Nature (the most inspiring places to stand and listen and witness Mother Nature) 

Milford Trek, New Zealand

Music/Classical

Music/Folk

Music/Hip Hop

K’naan (Somali troubadour)

Music/Rock

Music/Jazz

Music/Indigenous (many sub-categories here)

Souad Massi – Houria 

John Legend- Shine;

Yusef Islam- Maybe there/ World

The Beatles- All you need is Love 

Stevie Wonder- Higher Ground

Photography

Sebastio Salgado 

Henri Cartier-Brasson

Robert Frank

Jimmy Nelson

Lisa Kristine

Technology

Science

Speeches 

Hellen Keller: “Against the War” 1916, USA

Ataturk: “Message to the Gallipoli Fallen” 1934, Turkey

Churchill: “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” 1940, Great Britain

Eisenhower: “Farewell Address” 1961, USA

David Lange: “Nuclear Weapons Indefensible” 1985, New Zealand

Cesar Chavez: “Lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King” 1990, USA

F. W. Klerk: “Nelson Mandela Released” 1990, South Africa

Sport

Humanistic values in sport:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/timvickery/2011/12/la_u_accompliments_unforgettab.html


Southern yellow-billed hornbills debating humankind’s intent / Kruger National Park, South Africa

About thirty years ago, THI dreamed up a blueprint for reorganizing the dysfunctional way humankind is living on Earth. Perhaps it’s still useful as reminder of the different arenas in which to volunteer…

Earth Reorganization Blueprint

I   A New Nationhood

Why we should abandon the current system of 212 states and establish a more workable, honorable and peaceful understanding of community. How to best implement this. 

II  Living arrangements

How to live more fluently, freely and sustainably with each other, more easily choosing living with cultural compatibility and diversity with each other. How to best honor the core considerations of living in dignity, safety and simplicity. 

III Resource Use and Protection

How to better develop Earth-friendly power sources. 

IV Animal Rights

How best to protect their lives and their passage on land, water and air.

V   Ecosystem Rights

How to honoring and protect the ebb and flow of the natural world.

VI Religions 

Sharing the wisest and most poetic dictums and ideas and music, diminishing the tendencies toward violence, reducing entrenched feelings of superiority.

VII Communication

How to better share this “information age” with all, without disrupting “quiet” or distant communities.  Creating a positive, intelligent inquiry into what is happening every day, to all of us, thereby diminishing the simplistic, immature focus of current “news”. Creating real debate and inquiry. 

VIII   Festival and Sport

How to create more inclusive (and joyful) celebration of our cultural heritages and athletic endeavors.


Halifax city scene, Nova Scotia

Here’s a 2020 BBC article (even more relevant now) on taking action on climate crisis. Where we are and what you can do.