>Documentary: Inequality for All (Reich)

Tonight I watched a documentary by Robert Reich about income inequality in the United States. Here’s the trailer:

I appreciated it. It’s a hard topic to deal with–too big, too complex, too much out of my control. Many macro social problems have micro or local ways to get involved, but income inequality is hard to address. You can give money away to people voluntarily, but that doesn’t address the broader societal trend. If you care about this topic, how do you get involved?

Here are a couple earlier posts about economic inequality:

Web Round-up

Christian articles relating to social ethics and action (plus a few about faith more generally):

Plus here is a list for Seventh-day Adventists (link).

MISC PEACE, JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS (General Sources)

ENVIRONMENT

Crazy Radical Environmental Fruit-Nuts

In the past month or so I’ve watched two very intriguing documentaries about environmental activists who go to prison for their actions. Readers of this blog know I advocate for nonviolent social action, and I just want to highlight that again in the context of these two films.

The first is If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (PBS, film website, Wikipedia, IMDB, DemocracyNow!) which follows the story of Daniel McGowan. As a member of the ELF, McGowan had participated in arson as a tactic for social and environmental change. The film simultaneously tells the ELF’s story and follows court proceedings against McGowan.

If a Tree Falls is compelling story-telling. It is a provocative look at the sociological, psychological, and political factors that radicalized the local environmental activist community. I appreciated that the filmmakers allowed the activists and the law enforcement personnel to be complex; they weren’t dumbed down to one-dimensional caricatures. These are complex issues with complex actors, and I value that this messiness was allowed to come through.

More recently, I watched Bidder 70, which looks at the actions of Tim DeChristopher relating to conservation and climate change (film website, organization, Facebook, IMBD, Peaceful Uprising). Rather than take a violent or destructive approach like McGowan, DeChristopher interfered with an auction of extraction rights by holding up his bidding number, 70.

I have a deep respect for people who find creative and meaningful ways to live our their values. I respect even more those who dedicate themselves to pursuing this integration of values and living in peaceful or nonviolent ways.

Reflection Questions

  1. Am I as committed to my values as these two young men are?
  2. To what degree have I integrated my values and actions? What holds me back from doing this more fully?
  3. What sacrifices am I willing to make to live what I believe and to promote my values?
  4. What role did community play in the lives of these two men? How did community influence them before, during and after the actions noted in these films?
  5. In the area of environmental activism, what is needed today? What issues, strategies and tactics are most important at this stage in world history?

BONUS

Want to find more films that address some of these same themes? Check out the follow twelve films on protest and social action:

  1. Encounter Point (2006, documentary)
  2. Budrus (2009, documentary)
  3. 5 Broken Cameras (2011, documentary)
  4. The Singing Revolution (2006, documentary)
  5. This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2000, documentary)
  6. Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008, documentary)
  7. Rage Against the Machine: Revolution in the Head and the Art of Protest (2010, documentary)
  8. 180 South (2010, documentary)
  9. A Force More Powerful (1999, documentary)
  10. The Edukators (2004, movie)
  11. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2004, movie)
  12. Amazing Grace (2006, movie)

Friday Web Round-up

Economics

Human Rights

War, Peace & Social Change

Psychology

Environment

Religion: List

Random: List

Friday Web Round-up

Love and Shopping

Recently, I’ve written two posts on living in such a way as to care for others–Love and Service and Now What?. In the latter article, I wrote this:

I bought chocolate before “enlightenment,” and I will buy it after, but now I look for the Fair Trade stamp of approval. I look for organic food because I know the workers weren’t subjected to pesticides and herbicides in the fields, and I know it is better for the planet.

I decided to write this follow-up post to clarify that I don’t mean to argue that “shopping well” is the central or defining characteristic of “living well.” Temporarily setting aside spiritual issues, this is inadequate even from purely environmental or societal perspectives. Consider the analysis of Annie Leonard in the short video, “The Story of Change.”

This is especially relevant at this time of year when millions of people are ramping up for Christmas binge shopping. For a different Christian perspective on this holiday, check out Advent Conspiracy:

And if you do feel the need to shop this Christmas, might one of these options fit the bill:

Recommended Reading (and viewing)

Here is your reading assignment for today:

Environment & Health:

Society & Culture & Life & Activism & Stuff:

Off-center Religion and Politics and Government:

Coffee:

Prana’s Wisdom:

Economics:

Selected Canadian Views on US Politics and Economy:

Against Democrats:

Against Republicans:

What’s an Independent to Do?

Random bits for the unemployed:

BONUS 1: Three Classic Articles on Christian Social Ethics

BONUS 2: I AM

>Random Links

Global Ethics Forum 2012

Seeds for Successful Transformation 2012: The Value of Values in Responsible Business

28 –  30 June, Geneva/Switzerland

“The current crises show that fundamental  transformation in the economy, business, politics, civil society and culture, is happening and is needed. But how can this transformation take place based on credible values? And how can the ‘seeds for successful transformation’ be planted in companies and institutions that could benefit from concrete value-based changes in their culture and practice?”

>Waste Land

We really appreciated watching Waste Land with Ross last night. Very engaging.

The film reminded me of Born into Brothels (photography as social tool) + Dive! and The Gleaners and I and Recycled Life (reclaiming society’s waste).