Monday, 10 February 2014

Back to your scheduled progamming. Also, help to decrease world suck!

 Aaand we're back! 
It seems we have taken an unannounced hiatus from this blog, but we are back again, and have plenty of posts planned for the future.

Today I want to talk about something that may not occur to many of us very often, if at all, and that is using the internet productively. You probably think that you're already semi-productive with your use of the internet. Maybe you use it as a platform to showcase your talents, to keep in touch with friends, keep in the loop about projects that matter to you, or to casually follow (okay, okay: stalk) your idols. Of course there is some downtime, often arising from boredom or procrastination – I totally understand this. There is nothing wrong with the fleeting but enjoyable amount of gratification one can achieve from levelling up on one's mmorpg of choice, but it's all about balance.  

Do you use any of that internet time to give hope to people who, at this very moment, are thousands of miles away from you and don't have even the most basic essentials that we take for granted each day? No? Well, here are some websites and organisations that allow you to give to those who actually need it. Websites that in some cases don't even necessitate that you part with any of your money at all.  

  1. Care2 is a platform for people who wish to make a difference with a wide variety of issues from animal welfare to politics to civil rights and the environment. Users can create and sign petitions for causes that they believe in, and visit the Click to Donate page daily, to give to charitable organisations by simply clicking the button on each tab- you don't have to donate any money of your own and clicking takes no more than a minute of your time. You can help to save a few acres of rainforest rather than idly reblogging a photograph of the rainforest on your Tumblr! Better yet, you can create an account and track how much you've helped each cause over time; way more satisfying than levelling up, right?

How does it work?
When you click on the donate button, care2's sponsors will donate to the selected cause. It's that simple.

  1. freerice is a website that allows you to donate rice for the hungry and help fund education for the underprivileged. Owned by the United Nations food programme, free rice requires you to answer randomly generated questions on a topic of your choice, including English vocabulary, maths, chemistry, the humanities, geography, the sciences and even SAT test preparation. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated by the organisation, and I should warn you, the quizzes can get very addictive.

  2. World Builders is a charitable organisation that aims to “use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to make the world a better place”. Founded by author Pat Rothfuss, World Builders works with Heifer International to promote education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world, and in turn those who donate are in with a chance to win all sorts of cool stuff from authors and publishers of the best books and webcomics.
    There are multiple ways to participate: 
    The Lottery, which is basically what it sounds like: you donate, and are in return entered in a draw to win a bunch of cool stuff. 
    The Sure Thing, where you basically just buy something awesome from the store and Auctions, where rare and specialised services are auctioned off to the highest bidder – in the past this has included “professionals who are willing to read and critique your manuscripts...signed art and rare books. There have been quite a few chances to win guest appearances in comics and get your name into upcoming books.”

    If you're a self-proclaimed geek and book lover (which I guess is pretty likely if you're reading this blog), World Builders is probably calling out to you, so go on ahead. Just come back here after. We'll be waiting! No really, I'll be here... 
  3. Tab For A Cause is a non-profit organisation that makes donating to charities super quick and easy. All you have to do is download the add-on for your web browser (this doesn't take more than a minute!), and voilà! Each time you open a new browser tab, their sponsors donate to the wide variety of affiliated charities.
I hope that these sites demonstrate how easily you can help decrease worldsuck and make your internet browsing sessions more productive – if you're anything like Ari and I, you clock enough hours on the internet to make a sizeable difference and increase your own personal Level Of Ultimate Awesomeness in the proccess.

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