Blog Action Day 2008 : Poverty

This is my post for Blog Action Day 2008. You can read a little more about it here.

I’m a little late with my Blog Action day post. Although, technically it’s still October 15th, even if only in Hawaaii.

Actually, I’ve been reluctant to post anything at all. Why? Because I feel cynical about writing about poverty. Iknow nothing about it, really. And neither do most of the bloggers that have been involved in Blog Action Day. This white guy, sitting in his western world house, feels ill-placed to bang out a blog about poverty on his MacBook Pro.

More so, I’m cynical that I can actually make a difference to a topic as big as poverty. And I’m cyncical that any government will actually ever do much about it. I was at Live Aid a few years ago. And for a fleeting moment, I was hopeful that the members of the G8 might consider cancelling third world debt. But inevitibly it never happened.

Is there anyone that can make a difference?

Actually I think it is very possible that anyone, armed with a little Web 2.0 weaponary, can make a difference.

Take Simon Berry. Simon had a little idea about how Coca Cola might be able to help out:

What about Coca Cola using their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?

10 years ago, an idea like this would have been great, but other than writing a letter, there wouldn’t be any way to harness it. Now, with the help of a facebook group and a blog, Simon has been able to get executives at Coke to listen. You can read more about this great story here.

Think of the good things that a could come out of a campaign like this. And the think about the amount of good press that a big multinational corporation like Coca Cola could generate out of this. The social media ripples would be Tsunami-like.

Would beat the crap out of the recent rubbish that their marketing department have been spewing out.

Others, like Google, get it. Their project, 10 to the 100 is just one example of a campaign that they’re running which really has legs to impact issues like global poverty.

More and more, you’ll find examples of big companies doing good things. Some because of lip service. Some realise that brands will only survive this new post-globalisation era if they show some heart. But many companies are doing good because we, the people, have got the power to force them to do good.

We’re now entering an era of Citizen Rennaisance. And unprecedented opportunity to change the world. The world is our oyster.

There’s plenty of reasons not to be cynical.

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