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Activism 101: get informed & involved with these sites

Want to make your mark and change world for the better? This is your yellow pages. 

Last year, we wrote a comprehensive breakdown of the six stages of social activism with the aim of really fleshing out an enigmatic concept that has more relevance today than ever before. Lucky for you guys, change is our bread and butter here at Thred, and we’re all about spreading the truth. 

Step by step in Social Activism: six steps to get you started, we dug into the specifics of how best to get informed on the worthiest causes, while providing a roadmap to effecting citizenry change at government level. This is the ultimate guide to growing your activist network on the fly.

Whether you’re here with a specific cause in mind, or are still figuring out what you’re most passionate about and what moves you most, we’ve done the hard yards scouring the web for the most influential and inspiring organisations across the globe, so you don’t have to. Macro your email address to your keyboard now, because you’re going to want to subscribe to a ton of these.


Positive social change 

As we previously mentioned, social change is an esoteric concept comprised of literally hundreds of different aspirations and agendas, but when stripped down to the bare bones, the general term refers to the coming together of likeminded people in order to alter social institutions, behaviours, or relations for the better. 

If you’re new to this, don’t run before you can walk. Spend some time getting familiar with these organisations and the great work they do – this will become the nucleus of your activist network and may just ignite that inner fire you’ve been searching for. 

Global Citizen, Do Something, We, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Impactr


Climate change & the environment 

It’s a worrying sign of the times when it takes a global pandemic to bring emission levels down by a significant margin for the first time in over a decade, but that’s the reality of where we’re at. 

In the midst of what is undoubtedly a global emergency, economic figureheads claim to fight the good fight while persisting with environmentally dangerous business models for maximum profit. And we’re now reliant on a new generation of eco warriors to provide us with transparency and practical solutions going forward. 

Thankfully, when it comes to climate activists and grass roots movements, we have enough knowledge to win a round of Tenable five times over. After all, what good is it fighting for the righteousness of the planet and its people while the planet itself is dying? 

Green Climate Fund, 350.org, C40 Cities, World Meteorological Organisation, Fridays for Future, This is Zero Hour, SumOfUs, Believe Earth, Force of Nature


Renewable & alternative energy 

While we’ve touched on the devastating impact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are having on our climate, we’ve yet to discuss the knock-on effect to delicate agricultures across the world and their people. Today, 1 in 9 lack access to electricity, 1 in 3 lack access to clean cooking, and 1 in 10 have no means of generating clean water. And this can be attributed largely to our continued use of fossil fuels and refusal to invest in renewable industries.  

Developing renewable means of energy could be the key to a future in which rural communities don’t just get by, but prosper. By integrating micro generation initiatives, those currently suffering can become self-sustainable and will have daily access to essential supplies, as well as quality schooling and job opportunities. Profit should never come above people, but it appears some of the powers that be don’t see it that way. 

Climate Investment Funds, UN Environment Programme


Clean water & sanitation 

Unicef estimate that today there are around 2.4 billion people who have no means of clean sanitation, and 663 million who are forced to use dirty water for cooking and drinking. Outside the reach of major conurbations, these victims of circumstance have no choice but to make do with natural sources at close proximity, running the risk of catching often perilous diseases like cholera and dysentery. 

The living in constant fear of damaging yourself and your family is distressing enough, but a lack of clean water and sanitation also has a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods. Women as young as eight have to walk miles on a daily basis to collect as much water as they can carry. Survival is the ultimate priority, and as a result future prospects and education have to take a backseat. That’s just not fair.

WaterAid, UN Environment Programme, Akvo.org, World Health Organisation, Our World in Data, TOSCHOPE, UN Sustainable Development Goals


Plastic waste & ocean conservation 

It’s troubling to think that 79% of the plastic waste ever created still exists in our environment today. Whether we’re talking landfill sights, coastlines, or delicate marine ecosystems, plastic pollution has fast become a global menace we simply must eradicate in the next decade. 

While attitudes are finally turning against the production of single-use plastics, 32% of waste items we use still end up in general waste. Huge corporations are waking up to the reality that they may have to clean up their means of production to keep consumers onside, but the lines are often blurred between legitimate campaigns and greenwashing gimmicks. 

That’s why it’s down to movements and organisations such as these to protect the planet with absolute impunity. Here are some of the biggest innovators and visionaries working toward global clean-ups and sustainable solutions right now. 

WasteAid, Plastic Oceans, NRDC, Greenpeace, WWF – Panda.org, Sea Save, Marine Conservation Society, SurfersAgainstSewage, Oceana, UN Environment Programme, Byebyeplasticebags


Pollution control 

You probably didn’t know this, but airborne pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today; eclipsing the toll of AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Understandably, COVID-19 remains the chief enemy as the world unites to quell the spread of the virus. But according to environmental economists, the freezing of industrial businesses has likely saved tens of thousands of would-be victims from fatal pollution poisoning. 

However, when the world inevitably hits the play button on its industries, it’s those below the poverty line that will suffer most again. Without the financial means to protect themselves, families residing in inadequate living spaces will be forced to inhale poor quality air and will run the risk of becoming another victim of pollution’s human capital. 

There are some truly inspiring movements dedicated to ensuring this doesn’t happen. Here’s where you can get informed and/or involved.

The World Bank, UN Environment Programme, Paid to Pollute


Land conservation 

We can take encouragement from recent statistics, which display a widespread urgency to protect terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity. Forest loss is slowing down – after the catastrophic fires that ravaged Brazil and Australia in the last two years – and prior to lockdown, we were funnelling more financial fire-power than ever before into combatting soil erosion, illicit poaching, and wildlife trafficking – especially when it comes to endangered species. 

However, our improved efforts don’t mean we’re winning the battle by any means. The COVID-19 lockdown has paralysed revenue streams for wildlife conservations on an international scale, and protective methods are largely reliant on public donations to stay afloat. Therefore, we need to be more active now than ever before if we don’t want years of work to be undone.

World Land Trust, Rainforest Foundation, Fibershed, United for Wildlife, Cool Earth, ON A MISSION


Equality & human rights 

Whether we’re talking racial justice, access to quality education, youth employment, homelessness and poverty, gender and LGBTQ equality, human rights, or migration and refugee aid, the ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone can live in a world with equal prosperity and freedom. 

Truthfully, this section is comprehensive enough to merit its own list, but at its core it incarnates the human ideal of closing the gap between the haves and have nots, and scrapping the arbitrary labels tethered to different groups of society. Everyone deserves to live their lives free of fear and prejudice, and if we make progress towards improving this smorgasbord of causes this could one day become a reality. 

Imagine that, people from all walks of life having an equal standing and being judged solely by their character and integrity, their moral compass, and professional merit. Nothing else. It’s a seriously tall order, granted. But that isn’t going to stop us chipping away at the iceberg. Check our Thred 100, we’re Gen Activist after all.

Racial & social justice 

Amnesty International, Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Black Futures Lab, Gyrl Wonder, ActBlue, Campaign Zero, CUAPB, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, NAACP, Advocacy Academy, Colour of Change, The Black Curriculum

Access to quality education

PLAN International, Global Citizen, We, UN Sustainable Development Goals

Youth employment

Youth Opportunities, The Youth Group, Solutions For Youth Employment

Homelessness & poverty 

Social Bite, Crisis, ONE, Homeless World Cup, Global Care, The World Bank

Period poverty 

Street Cramps, PERIOD, Pink Protest, Global Citizen, Bloody Good Period

Gender equality & human rights

All Out, Amnesty International, Under the Same Sun, UN Sustainable Development Goals

LGBTQ+ rights

GATE, OutRight Action International, American Civil Liberties Union, Stonewall, GLAAD, Amnesty International, PLAN International, Mermaids

Refugee aid & migration

RefuAid, Help Refugees, Global Exchange, The Nation, Global Human Rights, Unicef, Choose Love, Movement on the Ground, Refugee Council, Refugee Action

Mental health and suicide prevention 

Mental health, a once taboo subject rife with social stigma is now being more widely accepted and talked about than ever before, and thank God. Close to 800,000 people die by means of suicide every year across the globe, and for each successful attempt there’s said to be 20 others who’ve either failed, or are planning an attempt. 

We all have close connections to negative mental health, in that we’re either afflicted by some form of it, or know someone who is. And it’s seriously upsetting to think that many of those suffering don’t have access to the help they need, or worse see no alternative but to take their own life. 

It’s down to us to show those feeling most alone that there are people willing to listen, and that there is no emotional load too heavy to be lightened with professional help. If you wish to get informed on the subject, or are looking to actively make a difference, we have you covered.

Samaritans.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, International Association for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Day, Shout, SANE, Papyrus 


Gun control & gun violence 

Gun violence is one of the biggest and most poignant contemporary human rights issues in the world right now. Over 500 lives are claimed by firearms every year, with gun violence contributing to around 44% of all homicides. 

The United States in particular is nigh-on split between those who uphold the constitutional right to bear arms, and those who believe the legislation is being abused to inflict harm and not for personal protection. 

Gen Z fall heavily into the latter bracket, as they’re becoming increasingly affected by gun violence as the years wear on. Since 2019, there has been over 50 separate incidents of school shootings, and though protective methods are increasing thanks to public demand there’s still huge cause for concern and an end to the debate isn’t in sight. Here’s how you can help. 

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, March For Our Lives, Everytown for Gun Safety


Sexual harassment & violence against women

It’s scary to think that one in three women will have been subjected to sexual harassment or violence at some stage in their lifetime. Now, while we must state that this is an issue that can impact people of all genders, there’s no doubting it disproportionally affects women. 

College campuses, and multinational office spaces are two of the biggest breeding grounds for this shameful behaviour, but it’s those operating within the fringes of society who often will not seek the help or legal assistance they require. Victims of circumstance like sex-workers, illegal migrants, and refugees will likely suffer in silence through fear of jeopardising their livelihoods or putting their families at risk. In developing countries, young girls often have no one to call on. 

Thankfully there’s a whole host of movements and organisations determined to improve the odds for women globally. Through humanitarian work, education schemes, and campaigns to tighten legislation we will create a global culture of consent. 

It’s On Us, ActionAid, UN Women, WorldBank.org, Global Workplace Insider, Women For Women


Wrongful incarceration 

Is there a bigger miscarriage of justice than condemning an innocent person to a life of solitude, simultaneously tarnishing their character for a crime they did not commit? You’ve likely heard the tragic stories of Kalief Browder and the ‘Central Park Five’, but you probably hadn’t heard that around 2 to 5% of convicts serving time right now in the US are innocent, according to a famous study carried out by Innocence Project in 2014. 

The lucky few who do have their sentences overturned are left to contend with constant feelings of betrayal, anger, and paranoia. And to compound this injustice, loopholes in legislation are often exploited to deny these people restitution for their sacrifice. 

It’s truly unsettling to think that innocent people are suffering needlessly at this very moment, but we can conserve our energy and use it to make our voices heard. There are support systems out there, and organisations that are working around the clock to exonerate the innocent and improve criminal justice reform for future generations.

Innocence Project, American Civil Liberties Union, Dream Corps


Cyber-bullying 

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, we’re streamlining tech that allows us to instantly communicate with friends and keep up to date minute by minute with our biggest interests and personal inspirations. 

However, this constant online presence can become a real burden for victims of bullying, who have no means of escape or safe space to express themselves without being harassed. Whether we’re talking online trolling to create a mass sense of hysteria, or the more targeted and sinister form of cyber-stalking, we’re seeing a rise of unsavoury online behaviours in recent years and we have to adapt quickly to combat them. 

Shocking cases have reached mainstream media sources and have forced social media apps to innovate and become savvier at spotting cyber-bullying, but instances continue to slip through the net on a daily basis. Us regular folk have to keep fighting from the ground level to ensure that those hurting in silence have a voice, and that our online platforms remain a safe place for individual expression.

NSPCC, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Childnet, STOMP Out Bullying, Anti-Bullying Pro

Animal rights

While we’re talking about equal representation and rights for the world’s sentient beings, what right do we have to ignore animals? Atop of the list of my personal social change agenda, animal rights refers to the fact (not belief) that animals have an inherent worth separate from their perceived ‘usefulness’ to humans. 

Every animal has a right to live free from pain and suffering, but in a world where factory farming and wet markets are still rife, people continue blissfully turning a blind eye to atrocities on a monumental scale. Just for reference, 94% of all the world’s livestock is raised on factory farms. 

Beyond this, wild animals are torn from their natural habitats and live their lives in horrendous conditions for the amusement of humans, are hunted mercilessly for their ‘valuable resources’, and are shunned or abused by irresponsible pet owners. It’s frankly diabolical. The calls from these helpless creatures can no longer go unheeded. 

Peta2, World Animal Protection, Centre for Animals, The Human League


Starting a petition of your own

As we touched on in Social Activism, citizenry action is the key to changing policy and strength comes in numbers. Constantly staying active with signing petitions and creating petitions of your own is a great way to have your say at the highest level, and with online traffic growing exponentially every year, there’s no better place to extend a call to action for likeminded people. 

Here are some of the best places to house your new social change crusades. Goodspeed.

Change.org, Avazz, 38Degrees, Openpetition, Petition.parliament.uk, Petitions.whitehouse.gov, iPetitions, Care2, GOV.UK

 

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