Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If you want to help take action on climate change, consider donating $5 to @350nz this week

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, he said this to activists in the Democratic party:

I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.

Emphasis on 'make'. It seems like governments play it safe for as long as they have to, assuming that the status quo is going to be the status quo forever. If people want things to change, they need to show that loudly and clearly and unignorably. Or, as someone else said:

Until people lead the way, they shouldn't expect leaders to follow.

Here's an example of that 'people leading the way': 350 Aotearoa is the New Zealand arm of an international campaign ( to unite the world in taking action to reduce the level of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere.

 That's something I want to support and see more of, so here's what I've done: I've donated $25 to 350 Aotearoa's PledgeMe campaign. They're looking to raise a little over $1,500 in the next 10 days (they've already raised about $1,000).

What does $1,500 get us?

As a volunteer-run organisation, 350 Aotearoa needs some dedicated resources (like space to plan and organise in) in order to build up some momentum on the actions they're taking. As they say on their PledgeMe page, "In Auckland we’ve had a small team of organisers who have been getting together on-and-off to organise Auckland actions. We want to change this. We want to see a see a strong and committed team of Aucklanders, working to bring change in our city."

The PledgeMe campaign is to raise funds to set up an Auckland branch of 350 Aotearoa based at The Kitchen, a collaborative work-space in central Auckland that supports fledgling NGOs, change makers, and innovators working for social good.

How does PledgeMe work?
  • It feels a bit like Kickstarter
  • You can pledge any amount from $5 or more
  • The money is only taken out of your credit card account if 350 Aotearoa reach their fundraising goal of $2,500 (which means there's no risk, really, of putting a little money down)
  • 5% of what you pledge goes to PledgeMe; another 2.8% (+25c per transaction) goes to something called Flo2Cash, which looks like PledgeMe's cash management system.
  • The fundraising page for 350 Aotearoa is here:

The serious bit

Climate change is already happening: climate shifts are underway.

Political change is going to happen, but it'll happen slower than it needs to unless there's a citizen-led movement to encourage governments to change its policies. And the basics of that citizen led movement already exist in the form of groups like Generation Zero and

I kind of see giving 350 Aotearoa $25 as them making a deal with me: I'm showing them faith that having access to these resources will help them deliver on their projects. I'll be keeping an eye on their work over the next year to see whether they live up to that.

Details, details

More about 350 Aotearoa:

More about The Kitchen:

More about the Pledge Me campaign:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Disappear Into Light (2012)

Just watched Leonie's documentary "Disappear into Light", which is about the production of Jo Randerson's play "Good Night. The End."

I know quite a few of the cast and crew involved in this, and it's amazing watching the very natural process of talented people try to find a creative process that works for them.

The doco creates a real sense of tension during rehearsals by simply observing the process of trying to find the best way to discover the truth in scenes and characters. It's also great at illustrating some components of what makes up a scene (from the actors' POV): the actions that accompany a line of dialogue and the intent behind the line, the timing and delivery of lines between actors, and how important trust and a good communication process are between actors and director.

The whole thing culminates with a vivid depiction of the point in pre-production when cast and crew know their parts and what they have to do, and people are having fun pulling the show together, but everyone is also starting to focus on the approach of Opening Night.

I haven't found a dedicated webpage for this, so here's a link to a press release:

And here's an interview with the director:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The War of Art and Do The Work were the most valuable books I read last year

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, gives a name to the force that makes us procrastinate. Pressfield calls it 'Resistance', and describes it as a part of ourselves that is actively trying to find ways to stop us from creating the things we were born to do. The War of Art was excellent at articulating this concept of Resistance, and getting me to emotionally buy in to the idea of defeating it.

Do the Work (the follow-up book) is fantastic at taking you step-by-step through a project: the various stages of Resistance you'll face, and some great fundamental strategies for making progress on a project. However, I feel it does skimp a little on defining 'Resistance', as it summarises material from The War of Art in a way that I don't think stands entirely alone.

The War of Art changed me but Do the Work is the one I refer to on a weekly basis.

Strongly related to those books is this blog post by Seth Godin: The First Thing You Do When You Sit Down at a Computer. He suggests that rather than check Facebook or Twitter, you spend that first block of time working on the thing you really want to get done, "laying the tracks" to accomplishing your goals.