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I Came Up With An Effective Way To Stop Cyberbullying

SOURCE: LinkedIn by Trisha Prabhu (Rethink)

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to showcase my work on my project, ReThink, at the White House Science Fair in the Grand Foyer of the White House. It was an inspirational moment to take my message for social change to some of the brightest social, scientific and technological minds in the country. I was beyond excited to present my work under the aegis and watchful eyes of the portraits of President John F. Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan. As a 14 year old, it was an experience of a lifetime.  My name is Trisha Prabhu, I am a freshman at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois in the USA.

This journey started for me a year and a half ago. In the fall of 2013, I came home from school to read the story of a young girl named Rebecca Sedwick. She was 11 years old and lived in Florida. And for over a year and half, she was repeatedly cyberbullied by her classmates. After contacting administrators and switching schools, the cyberbullying persisted. Rebecca couldn’t take it anymore. She jumped off of her town’s water tower to her death. I was shocked, heartbroken and angry when I learned of this young girl’s suicide. How could a girl younger than myself be pushed to take her own life? How could this have happened? I didn’t even want to imagine what her life must’ve been like during the last few weeks before her suicide, and what her family must be going through. I knew immediately I had to do something to stop this hurting from ever happening again – I decided to take up the cause to help stop cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is a scourge that hurts every other kid. 52% of adolescents online in the US alone have been cyberbullied. That is 12 million adolescents in the United States alone. A quarter of the world’s population is adolescents- we’re talking about 1.8 billion teens. We are currently in the midst of a social media revolution where so many adolescents are on social media- and the number of adolescents around the world being cyberbullied continues to grow. Victims suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, drop out of school and experience suicidal tendencies. A recent research conducted in UK indicated that the harmful effect of bullying lasts well into the 50s and 60s for the victims. They have low self-esteem, depression and their success rates are very low.

Current solutions to stop cyberbullying are short-term and ineffective. Many popular social media sites today offer a STOP, BLOCK, TELL solution to try to stop the cyberbullying. But why, I wondered, were we placing the burden on the victim to block the cyberbullying, after the damage was done? Social media sites recommend immediately alerting a parent or guardian about the cyberbullying – That sounds great in theory, but in reality 9 out of 10 times, adolescents don’t tell anyone that they are being cyberbullied and suffer in silence. I wondered why do kids cyberbully? What was the science behind this awful behavior? After extensive research, I came across something that changed the direction of how I was thinking about this problem. A research showed that adolescents’ brain is likened to a car with no brakes. High speed, no stopping, no thinking, just acting. There is an area of the brain called the Pre-Frontal Cortex that controls decision making. It isn’t fully developed until the early to mid-twenties, which is why we often see adolescents making quirky, rash decisions. So adolescent brain is not designed to think through consequences as much as we would like them to. That is when I wondered –what if adolescents were given a chance to pause, review and ReThink their decision to post an offensive message on social media – would they change their minds and decide not to post that message? If they received a message that said, “Hold on – that message that you are about to post, that may be hurtful to others.  Are you sure you want to post it?” would they still be willing to post that offensive message? I developed two software systems that measured this data accurately.  I spent weeks at the local library and before-and-after school testing adolescents.  After a total of 1500 well-controlled and fair trials, I was faced with some stunning results. An incredible 93% of the time, when adolescents were posed with a ReThink alert, they changed their mind, and decided not to post the offensive message! Overall willingness dropped from an initial 71.4% to 4.6%.

For my ReThink project, I was honored as a Google Science Fair 2014 Global Finalist and Three Dot Dash 2015 Global Teen Leader. I currently hold a US Provisional Patent with the USPTO for ReThink. I’ve taken my message to stop cyberbullying to global platforms like TEDxTeen in London, TEDxGateway in Mumbai, many schools and technology conferences across the country and of course, the White House! Being able to present my research at the White House Science Fair was an amazing experience I’ll never forget. I had the opportunity to interact with incredible young minds like myself, all working to use their science and technology skills to make this world a better place. My favorite part of the Fair was speaking and snapping a selfie with amazing inspirations like Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google.  My day at the White House reminded me of an important lesson my parents have always told me – you don’t have to be a certain age to create change. I know it’s my turn to make this world a better place in every way that I can.

I look forward to the day when we will conquer cyberbullying. I am now working tirelessly to make this a reality so that ReThink works with any social media site (the ones currently being used and the new ones to come) on both web and mobile platforms. Using machine learning algorithms and sentiment analysis, the ReThink software will include context-sensitive filtering that is able to understand the meaning of each message it monitors. My goal is to have ReThink rolled out to schools and communities at no cost to them. Schools and communities are encouraged to adopt not just the ReThink software but the ReThink movement for their school to help stop cyberbullying at http://www.rethinkwords.org  I have also created a “ReThink Ambassador program” where schools can nominate two students from their school to be an ambassador for ReThink to help stop cyberbullying at their schools.  ReThink stops hurtful messages from getting out there on social media proactively. I look forward to hearing from you, Please use “Contact” link on www.rethinkwords.org or on my personal website http://www.trishaprabhu.com or just email me at contact@rethinkwords.org. Please also follow @rethinkwords on twitter and like on Facebook!

I invite you to join this cause. Steve Jobs once said “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ReThink is a simple, original and transformational solution that has the potential to change the world.  Please spread this word out to your friends, family, schools and community and join the cause to stop cyberbullying. Together, we can help conquer cyberbullying and end the silent pandemic that is affecting millions across the nation and around the globe.

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PRODUCTS

9 Mobile Apps That Are Taking Social Entrepreneurship to the Next Level

SOURCE: Entrepreneur by Parth Misra

While the idea of social entrepreneurship isn’t new, it has taken a more concrete definition only recently. Twenty years ago, The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur by Charles Leadbeater was published, commenting on how a ragtag group of misfits and dreamers were mobilizing business resources and tactics for helping deprived communities or even lost causes.

The book set fire to the imagination of many entrepreneurs who wanted to pursue a higher calling. More motivated by tangible social change than inflating profit margins and satisfying shareholders, the social entrepreneurship movement has finally come of age and is an established business practice today.

As information technology has become more ubiquitous with business, its effect on social entrepreneurs was all but inevitable. The democratization of technology is empowering more people with information and creating value like never before. The mobile revolution has only taken this idea even further.

So, while being part of massive social change until recently could only be considered by people with deep pockets and big ideas, today everyone can contribute to something they care about. As long as you have a smartphone — and who doesn’t — you can now contribute to whatever issue you care about and have fun while you’re at it. Here are nine mobile applications that can help do just that.

1. Atlas Run.

Called the running app that gives back, Atlas Run is an interesting take on this specific app genre. Unlike most running apps, where the user sets a goal and then simply achieves it, Atlas Run gives you a chance to run for something you care about.

Companies that wish to support a nonprofit set up a challenge in the app, offering to donate an amount of money to a charity or nonprofit should it be completed within a defined amount of time (e.g. 3 months). For every mile the users run, bike or hike, a portion of the set amount is unlocked. When a challenge is completed, the amount is awarded to the organization.

Atlas Run is all about creating a community of like-minded people who want to sweat for a good cause and help to create awareness around social issues. Runners know how hard it can be to keep themselves motivated at times. However, doing it for a cause — particularly one that you care about — will give you all the more reason to complete that extra mile! Feel free to challenge your friends while you’re at it.

2. Micro Hero.

Online surveys are one of the quicker methods of making a quick buck online. Simply answering a few questions to get paid doesn’t get any simpler. However, once the sparkle of making money online dies off, those surveys really have a way of become boring and pointless, especially given the pay-off.

Micro Hero offers people a chance to contribute while answering such surveys. Simply download the app, choose a cause that you will like to help, and start answering questions to earn real money for it.

Much like Atlas Run, companies can set up surveys in the app and decide how much money they want to be awarded per survey and question. Unlike other online surveys, where users are paid, Micro Hero awards the earned money to a nonprofit the company and user want to support.

3. Fotition.

Can’t go for a day without taking a selfie? Fotition let’s you help out a charity by simply uploading photos. Social media really is one of the best tools available to spread awareness about any issue, and Fotition has found a great way to utilize it.

Campaigns can be set up by both charities and brands. Companies can use Fotition to donate money to a charity. Every time a user uploads a photo using their filter, the company donates a fixed amount to their chosen charity. For instance, Marvel Studios donated $717,230 to provide learning material for children in Nepal, Tahiti and the U.S. through their Hero Acts campaign.

Likewise, nonprofits and charities can use Fotition to create awareness about what they are doing, and give their corporate partners a better way to reach an audience. Finally, people can have a lot of fun while supporting issues they are passionate about.

4. We Day App.

You know what are the two hardest parts about doing something big? It’s getting started and sticking to it. How many of us wish that we could contribute to something big, making our lives more meaningful? We365 helps us do just that, in a fun way.

It works like this. A company or charity creates a challenge on the app. Every time a user completes the challenge, funds are donated to the charity. Anyone can create a challenge on the app. We.org, the company behind the app, has partnered with many brands, educational and charitable organizations that are committed to social change.

The creators of the app believe that every small action makes a difference and give people a way to take one positive action every day. You can connect with like-minded people who are pursuing the same challenges you are and spread the word, all while creating a real, tangible impact.

5. Forward.

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. After all, why discard when you could donate? But all too often, we have things to give away and no takers. The good people at Forward decided to do something about it and have come up with a simple app that allows people to turn their unused item into donations.

Download the app, take a photo of the item you wish to give away and what it’s worth, along with what charity/nonprofit you wish to support. The item is made available on the app within your locality. People who are interested in the item can bid on it, declaring how much they intend to donate. Monies from the winning bid are immediately transferred to the charity/nonprofit you have chosen.

6. Budge.

We all love to dare our friends to do something we know there’s a good chance they can’t. But, what if you could take a regular everyday challenges to the next level by using them to power change? That was the idea that led to Budge, a microdonations app that turns lively, everyday activities and games into a powerful tool for social change.

Once you get the app, set up a challenge and invite a friend to compete in it. The winner gets to brag, the loser has to donate a fixed amount to any organization that you want. Everybody walks away happy.

Typically, the donations are in the $1-$5 range. The makers of the app want to drive home the point that small contributions every now and then can have a massive effect, too. Budge has been received very well and has users in U.S. and Australia budging and donating. The app is available for iOS devices.

7. GiftaMeal.

As the name suggests, this app helps feed the less fortunate, all while helping you spread the message and getting more people involved. The app’s unique “buy one gift one” model leverages partnerships with restaurants to provide meal for the less fortunate.

With GiftaMeal, every time a user walks in the door of a partner restaurant and takes a picture of a food item they like with the app, a meal is donated to someone within the user’s locality. Meals are donated through their network of food banks including Operation Food Search in St. Louis, Lakeview Pantry in Chicago and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit.

8. Givvr.

Pay-to-watch ads have been around for a while — where users can earn some cash watching corporate sponsored videos. Much like paid surveys though, there is never a lot of money to be made, nor any satisfaction to be had.

The guys behind Givvr decided to take this idea further by letting users donate their earnings from watching corporate sponsored videos to a charity of their choice. Much like Micro Hero, where you have to answer questions to help your favorite charity, Givvr let’s you do the same by watching corporate sponsored videos. Your earnings are forwarded to a charity of your choice.

9. Instead.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. Many of us wish to contribute to charities and nonprofits only to gasp back to reality after taking a look at our upcoming expenses. Instead helps you get around this nagging issue by actively making suggestions on how to save more money via smarter day-to-day choices.

The makers of the app, Ovenbits, say they believe that every little bit counts. Instead is essentially a microdonations portal that lets you donate to a charity of your choice. So, when you’re at Starbucks the app may suggest that you forgo your coffee, and donate to, say, the WWF.

The app will only make suggestions within a dollar range that you have to decide when you sign up. It also keeps track of all your donations, which serves as a good reminder of how much charity you have done.

All of these apps essentially gamify philanthropy and utilize microdonations to help out a charity or nonprofit. Almost anyone with a mobile device can join in and start helping out their preferred organizations. Even making a few dollars worth of contributions every now and then can have a phenomenal impact.

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JUSTICE

How Silicon Valley’s Sexist ‘Bro Culture’ Affects Everyone — And How To Fix It

SOURCE: The Verge by Shannon Liao

From the beginning, women were at the forefront of computer technology: both Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were pioneers of computer programming. But as computers rose as an industry, the number of women in the field did not follow — instead, after 1984, their numbers declined drastically.

In her book Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, Bloomberg TV reporter Emily Chang uses history, scientific studies, and dozens of interviews to piece together a broad view of the male domination in Silicon Valley. Her subjects range from the genesis of toxic “bro” culture at emerging start-ups, to the online harassment campaign Gamergate, the #MeToo movement, and Susan Fowler’s blog post about sexism and harassment at Uber that eventually led to CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation from the company last year.

Chang is careful to let her subjects speak for themselves, and that often means quoting at length from their own statements or blog posts. We get to revisit James Damore’s infamous anti-diversity memo that claimed men were just scientifically better at tech than women, which got him fired from Google within days. In the spirit of just presenting the facts, Chang doesn’t add side commentary to these well-documented events, which can make Brotopiafeel like dry textbook reading at times.

At times, reading Brotopia may seem like a return to notable tech articles from the past decade, but its breadth and depth allow the book to go deeper about the false assumptions and excuses people make about the gender imbalance in tech. Almost every venture capital fund and every tech company she interviews, for example, attribute tech’s problems with women to some other source, and fail to see where they might contribute to it.

Some recruiters might say that it’s harder to hire a woman in a position at a VC or tech company because of a limited pool of women computer science graduates. But, Chang argues, male college graduates aren’t subject to the same requirements. Only 61 percent of the top male investors on a 2015 list of Forbes Midas List of standout venture capitalists had a STEM degree, and all but one of the women on the list had STEM backgrounds. The discrepancy points to a double standard: why could men majoring in history and literature get hired but women couldn’t?

In the final chapter of the book, Chang writes, “Writing this book has been like going on trek through a minefield, with fresh mines being laid as I walked.” To those who are new to the subject, Brotopia offers concrete examples of obstacles and problems what women have endured in the industry, from small daily annoyances to bigger grievances like the wage gap and sexual harassment. In one anecdote, Uber engineer Lydia Fernandez, who is trans, said that she started to get interrupted in conversations after she transitioned but when she used to present as male, she had no such problems. She says in the book, “I’ve sat on both sides of this table; this game is rigged.”

Chang cites films like The Social Network and Hidden Figures in her book, the former shorthand for Silicon Valley’s bro culture and the latter shorthand for innovative women in tech. When reading Brotopia, it’s easy to envision it as a film — but as a documentary, to help keep all her carefully researched facts straight. Women who have triumphed in tech despite the odds, like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, could be the film’s heroines, and so would the young girls learning how to code despite it all.

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LABOR

Silicon Valley’s Favorite Anonymous Chat App Just Launched A #MeToo Channel

SOURCE: FastCompany by Pavithra Mohan

Blind, the anonymous chat app of choice for tech workers, has created a dedicated #MeToo section. In keeping with its mission to “bring transparency to the workplace,” Blind hopes the new channel will encourage women in tech to come forward with their stories. If anything, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner since many such conversations were already taking place on Blind.

After engineer Susan Fowler wrote about her experiences at Uber a year ago, employees at the ride-hailing company reportedly spent hours on Blind each day, dissecting the fallout from the blog post heard ’round the world. Employees from more than 100 companies–the largest percentage hailing from Amazon and Microsoft–have also flocked to the app. Blind is most popular amongst the tech set, but employees from any industry can use it.

The #MeToo channel is public and can be viewed on the Blind site, though anyone who wants to create a post will have to download the app. As you might expect from an app frequented by tech workers, a few, uh, questionable posts have already popped up. Here’s hoping the good outweighs the bad.PM

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EDUCATION

The Newest American Girl Doll — An Astronaut On A Mission To Get Girls Into STEM — in stores now

SOURCE: Moneyish by Nicole Lynn Pesce

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

Getting more girls into STEM isn’t rocket science – you just need to fire up their imaginations.

That’s the mission behind American Girl’s new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, who wants to be the first person on Mars. The Mattel-owned toymaker debuted the aspiring astronaut doll on “Good Morning America” last week before a group of girls dressed in official NASA flight suits.

“I really like that she’s an astronaut and that she’s trying to inspire people,” one kid told “GMA.”

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

American Girl teamed up with an out-of-this-word advisory board, including NASA’s former chief scientists Dr. Ellen Stofan and NASA astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, to make their first STEM-themed character’s story and product line as accurate as possible. Luciana is an 11-year-old who wins a scholarship to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. So American Girl editors and product designers visited Space Camp and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to see a day in the life of a trainee, such as putting on space suits and learning the “right” way to eat in space, or conducting a mission in microgravity.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

“It is so important to find exciting new ways to inspire our next generation of space explorers,” said Dr. McArthur Behnken in a statement. “I always want to encourage girls and boys to pursue their dreams, no matter how big, and I think it helps to show how those dreams can become reality for any kid.”

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (PRNewsfoto/American Girl)

Luciana and her accompanying storybook series are available today, when American Girl stories nationwide host launch parties that feature interactive science demonstrations, a Moon Phase craft, galaxy-inspired treats, and more. See americangirl.com/retail.

American Girl has also launched a Blast Off to Discovery program with Scholastic, NASA and Space Gamp to get third through fifth grade students engaged in exploring space, which includes Luciana-inspired STEM-based lesson plans and classroom activities, videos and a game that will be available on scholastic.com beginning Jan. 31, 2018. Families can also enter the Mission to Mars Sweepstakes hosted by American Girl and Scholastic, going on a series of weekly missions for a chance to win prizes like a trip to Space Camp.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

It pays to get boys and girls interested in science. STEM college majors had an average starting salary of $65,000, or almost 25% higher than those in non-STEM fields, according to a 2014 Department of Education report. Yet there’s still a gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. While young women in grades K through 12 participate in high-level mathematics and science courses at similar rates as their male classmates, and undergraduate women earned 50.3% of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

“Luciana is a role model for today’s girls—empowering them to defy stereotypes, and embrace risks that will teach them about failure and success as they chart their own course in life—whatever the goal,” said Katy Dickson, president of American Girl, in a statement. “For us, it’s all about building girls of strong character, and it’s why we’re continuing to encourage girls to lead change and embrace #charactercounts.”

Lego’s new NASA collection.

This is the latest toy giving girls the tools to explore careers in math and science. Earlier this year, Lego released a $25 “Women of NASA” collection that included astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, known as the “Mother of Hubble” (as in the space telescope); scientist Margaret Hamilton, who was the lead software designer for the Apollo 11 moon landing; and astronauts Sally Ride, who was the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. It became Amazon’s best-selling toy the week it landed.

And the $30 GoldieBlox construction toy and storybook set, which won Educational Toy of the Year and People’s Choice Toy of the Year, features a girl engineer and her dog sparking creativity and curiosity by getting kids to build a belt drive.

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PRODUCTS

Calendar for Good: A Brilliant South African App Inspiring You To Do Good Everyday!

Source: Good things guy

Imagine if we all remembered every day to do a good deed – no matter how small – how wonderful a place our country would be.

That’s exactly what we all can achieve, with the South African National Blood Service’s (SANBS) brand-new Calendar for Good app, which is currently available for download. The national marketing manager for SANBS is Silungile Mlambo, she says:

“Users of our app will receive a push notification every morning with a suggestion for how to make a world of difference to someone else’s day,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS. It doesn’t have to take much effort nor does it even have to cost anything, because the true value of any good deed is the thoughtfulness, the caring, behind it.So we’re talking about simple gestures such as complimenting someone, surprising someone with a chocolate, sharing snacks at work, inviting someone to exercise with you, or giving an old friend a call and reconnecting”.

Along with daily suggestions for making the world a better place, the SANBS Calendar for Good will also encourage people to make a blood donation – another simple act of kindness, but one that actually saves lives – and notify users of SANBS activities in which they can participate. “After all, when it comes to donating, it’s not just donating blood. Each unit of blood donated can save three people’s lives. And what better deed can there possibly be, than giving others – complete strangers – the gift of life?” asks Mlambo.

The SANBS Calendar for Good is downloadable for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Simply search for “Calendar for Good”, and you’ll find it in no time.

“Go on, do it. And please tell others about it on your social networks using #calendarforgood, too. The more of us doing good deeds, the better our world certainly will be – and, of course, the more we can encourage people to make lifesaving blood donations,” says Mlambo.

Download the Calendar For Good app for Android or iOS by clicking here.

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PRODUCTS

Green Giants Make Over $100 Billion With Sustainability

SOURCE: Just Means by Kelly Eisenhardt

Interview with Freya Williams, author, “Green Giants”

There are nine corporations that make over $1 billion in annual revenues from products or services with sustainability or social good at their core. These companies are known as the Green Giants.

Freya Williams is North America CEO of Futerra, a global sustainability communications and consulting firm whose clients include Danone, SAB Miller, Estee Lauder, AXA Insurance and Unilever. Her longstanding career as advisor to such companies, in addition to her work with the United Nations, has helped provide insights for her new book, GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. With a primary focus on teaching companies how to incorporate sustainability, responsibility and social good into their businesses and brands, and make money at the same time, she has many successes to share.

You have a book out called GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. What is a Green Giant and how are Green Giants defining business history?

The Green Giants are nine companies each generating over a billion dollars in annual revenue from products or services with sustainability or social good at their core. Selling everything from burritos to airplane engines, they realized the potential to not just conserve, but make, money from sustainability-inspired innovations. Collectively, these more sustainable business lines generate over $100 billion annually.

How do these companies impact the lives of global consumers and can you share a few examples?

Their impact is broad and large but perhaps their biggest impact is that they have made products not just greener, but better, so consumers no longer have to choose between performance and sustainability.

Tesla is one of the Green Giants. They saw that the majority of environmentally friendly vehicles traded off performance for sustainability and as a result, only appealed to a niche customer. Tesla wanted wider appeal. They wanted to build an environmentally sound product that appealed to consumers focused on performance. Tesla is not just an environmentally superior product, it’s the highest performing car Consumer Reports has ever tested. Its competition is not the Toyota Prius, it’s the traditional luxury automakers.

Chipotle has done something similar. They source their meat from humane, ethical sources, partly because it’s the right thing to do but also because they believe this is tastier food that will make for a better burrito. So consumers are drawn to the food for the superior taste, and love the added benefit of choosing a more environmentally and ethically sound product. Chipotle’s performance shows this is a winning combination for consumers. Their revenues have increased four-fold in the last years as their focus on better ingredients has increased. Their competitors have been forced to follow suit because consumers now demand these better ingredients.

All of this disruptive innovation creates a pathway for others to succeed. These companies have created a hybrid model where transparency and responsibility has taken over from the last century’s focus on functionality only.

Because Green Giants tend to lead the way within their industry, are brands more at risk for criticism due to over exposure?

It takes a lot of courage to be disruptive and then stick to it.

Courage, leadership, and passion all play a part in the success of the Green Giants. At each company, the strategy is led by an Iconoclastic Leader who has gone out on a limb to drive change. And sure, they do face criticism. Some people are waiting for them to fail. Others say they’re not doing enough. But there is also great upside to risk. These companies have finally cracked the code on sustainable, profitable business and the results are paying off for their companies and all of their stakeholders.

Don’t forget that businesses also face criticism for not engaging in sustainability programs. There is a risk to leading and a risk to lagging. In my view, it’s better to get caught doing the right thing. Plus, as the Green Giants prove, if you do nothing, you’re leaving this billion-dollar opportunity on the table.

In your book, you describe six traits Green Giants have in common. How do these traits affect the way products are designed, manufactured, and brought to consumers?

My journey in writing this book was to research companies who have been successful building billion-dollar, sustainable business lines and then find out what these companies have in common.

There were six factors that I discovered. In each case, the strategy is led by an iconoclastic leader. They practice disruptive innovation, have a purpose beyond profit,  sustainability is built in to their business, rather than bolted on, they have achieved mainstream appeal, and have established a new behavioral contract with their employees, suppliers, and management.

To expand on each quality a little further, if there isn’t an iconoclast driving the commitment in the top levels of the organization, then the company won’t have the commitment needed to build the billion dollar business, let alone implement sustainability in its core.

Incremental improvement won’t cut it. The company needs to believe in and employ a plan for disruptive innovation. Green Giants invest in bringing successful, sustainable products to market. For example, GE has demonstrated their commitment with the $25 billion they have invested in Ecomagination since 2005.

Green Giants are all guided by a purpose not only to be financially successful, but also to positively impact the world. It may seem counter-intuitive, but having a purpose beyond profit makes you more profitable than pursuing profit alone.

To fully realize the opportunity, sustainability efforts must be integrated with the overall strategy and operations of the company. Many companies have departments that manage sustainability efforts. They are tasked with pruning for efficiencies and managing impacts. This is crucially important but it doesn’t drive billion-dollar growth. Green Giants don’t put sustainability into a side box. They embed sustainability into their corporate strategy, their cost and incentive structures, their organization and their operations. Nike has done a great job with this. They have integrated their sustainability teams with other teams like design and finance. They create a cross-pollination across the groups so that they can share knowledge and ideas.

The way companies succeed in a consumer base beyond the super-green niche comes down to their mainstream appeal. In the early days of green marketing, by relying on green cliches like tree frogs and green leaves, many companies inadvertently made their message only relevant to the 20% of consumers who care about sustainability. The green giants have figured out how to sell sustainability to demographics that might not put the same emphasis on sustainability. For example, 82% of consumers think that being green or sustainable is for women not men. As we talked about Tesla earlier, Tesla made sustainability with sleek lines and performance. Tesla created mainstream appeal with people who love to drive and they made sure men knew it was not a punishment to drive their car but that it’s the best car ever.

When people think about businesses behaving badly, they think about things like the financial crisis. Green Giants take a different approach by implementing a new behavioral contract with employees and stakeholders. This can be seen in their approach to responsibility, transparency, and experimental collaboration. Corporate responsibility is taking responsibility for the value chain before being pressured by outside sources, it requires being proactive. Being proactive leads to identifying risks and vulnerabilities and communicating concerns, which is transparency, and experimental collaboration is the willingness to be open with competitors to solve common problems.

If sustainability is not a fleeting fad but instead is an escalating business priority, why aren’t more companies embracing sustainability as mandatory business process?

We are seeing positive momentum. Ninety-five percent of the world’s two hundred and fifty largest companies now produce sustainability reports.

But the myth that sustainability and profit are at odds is persistent. The question I’m continually asked is, What is the business case for sustainability?

Profiling the Green Giants has enabled me to make the business case much more strongly because these companies are successful right here and now. The opportunity is in the present tense. And it’s billion with a B. Whether or not you believe in climate change or the social responsibility of business, this is an opportunity you’d be crazy not to seize.

Freya Williams is North America CEO of Futerra, a global sustainability communications and consulting firm and the author of GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. For more information go to www.greengiantsbook.com

 

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PRODUCTS

From Bean to Bar: Askinosie Chocolate Arrives at Target

SOURCE: A BullsEye View by Target

After 56 hours of plane, train and automobile travel from his home in Springfield, MO, Askinosie Chocolate founder ShawnAskinosie approached the single dirt road that would lead him to the Tanzanian village of Mababu.

Driving through the village on his most recent trip, Shawn found himself surrounded by a tropical landscape—coconut, palm and fruit trees—and out of the left window, looming large above the village, the Livingstone mountain range welcomed him.

Shawn is constantly on the go, traversing the globe to visit the farms in the Philippines, Honduras and Ecuador that supply the cocoa for his family-owned artisanal startup. Having started Askinosie ten years ago after quitting his job as a criminal defense lawyer, Shawn built his business from the ground up. His passion to turn a love of chocolate into something greater and more meaningful, helps him relate to his farmers—it’s kinship, he says. 

“We are so hyper-focused on quality it’s crazy. It’s one of the reason I travel so much, I’m constantly tasting beans and testing beans and looking at the harvest practices so that the quality is better and better,” says Shawn.

This year, Askinosie became part of Target’s Made to Matter offering. The sweet result of the collaboration? Three exclusive chocolate bars for Target—on shelves now!—that are traceable back to the farmer—Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate + Crushed Almonds & Vanilla, Dark Milk Chocolate + Goat’s Milk. 

“The relationship between Target and Askinosie has been one in which our small size has been honored as opposed to pressured,” says Shawn. “And as the ‘little guy’ it’s something that I deeply appreciate.”

So why the Tanzanian beans for these exclusive bars? The chocolate derived from the cocoa has a versatile and approachable flavor profile, perfect for people ready to “dip their toe into the deep end of dark chocolate.”

Take a look at the map below to learn more about Askinosie’s bean to bar process!

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PRODUCTS

If We Want to End Rape Culture, We Need To Address Insufficient Sex Education, New Book Says

SOURCE: Mic by Samhita Mukhopadhyay

Since the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein in October, we’ve seen a steady stream of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, media and politics, which have included indecent exposure, inappropriate touching, masturbating in front of unwilling onlookers and even assault in the workplace. We are also witnessing a rare moment where women’s stories are impacting the way we think about men, power and rape culture.

But what about the way we think about sex? “Rape is not about sex” has been a longtime adage of anti-rape activists, partially in an effort to define rape as what it is: an act of violence rooted in power. Rape is not sex, but it is sexualized violence. Rape culture, or the social norms that allow for sexual assault to occur, include how we think about sex and how we think about sexuality, so it makes sense that if we want to end rape culture, we might also need to address the ways we are taught about sex.

Jaclyn Friedman, author and “pleasure” activist agrees that saying “rape isn’t about sex” is “too facile and leaves a lot of people confused. Rapists use sex as a weapon of power,” she told me over email.

In her new book Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, Friedman tackles the structural barriers, like sexualization of women in the media and insufficient sex or consent education, that are preventing us from having fully actualized sex lives. Through profiles of sex therapists, researchers, activists and community organizations, she guides us through all the ways we’ve been “screwed” into thinking we have independent and fully realized sex lives (what she calls “faux empowerment”). Ultimately, she argues we are still restricted by gendered expectations of what sex should be like, who initiates or dominates in sex and whose pleasure we are focused on.

She’s got a point. From romantic comedies to the most low-brow pornography, a few common themes jump out. When it comes to heterosexual sex, these stories tell us men should dominate (masculinity is practically predicated on this assumption) and women “succumb” to the advances of men. In these stories, men will do anything to “get laid,” while women want to get married and settle down. When women in movies, TV and porn are sexual creatures with desires of their own, they’re considered radical or groundbreaking.

According to Friedman, “All media that depict sexuality help shape our ideas of sexual assault and consent.” And that’s whether we realize it or not. Friedman told me, “The myth that talking about consent is unsexy comes from nearly every romance ever depicted in even PG films and TV. The idea that rape can ‘become consensual by the end’ comes right from Game of Thrones.”

One obvious opportunity for intervention in how we consume messages about sex and consent is determined in our youth through sex education. In the United States, there are two predominant methods of sex education. One is comprehensive sex education, which includes teaching about contraceptive use and discussion of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The other is abstinence-only education, which teaches students that not engaging in sexual activity is the only true way to avoid consequences, such as pregnancy and STIs.

 Sex education is a controversial issue in the U.S., which is administered at the state level and, often, the district level. In Unscrewed, Friedman wrote that “Only 24 states and D.C. mandate that schools teach any kind of sex ed at all.” The CDC concurs. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “37 states require that information on abstinence be provided; 26 states require that abstinence be stressed; and 11 states require that abstinence be covered.” In one analysis, 23% of schools teach abstinence only, which is up from 2% in 1988. And even though studies have shown that, often, abstinence-only education is ineffective in actually preventing unintended pregnancies, assault or STIs, the funding for it continues.

Friedman told me that since many young people are left to their own devices to explore their curiosities about sex, they tend to turn to free online porn, which she said often means “lowest-common-denominator porn.”

In a Washington Post op-ed, Dr. Julia Long, sociology professor and author of Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism, writes that “the content categories of two of the most popular tube sites — XHamster and Pornhub — reveal a dismal pattern of endless scenarios of male dominance and female subordination, categorized by specific acts, female body parts, race and age.” One glance at any of these websites (should you dare) and you are inundated with images of sex that can be objectifying and violent in unsettling ways. Hardly, does one actor stop to ask another if she’s happy with what is happening or if it is what she wants.

 Perhaps it seems like a crooked line to draw, sex education at a young age to old men in power sexually abusing women, but Friedman tells me there is evidence that age-appropriate sex education helps people identify when something is consensual or not. She used the example of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, when two high school football students were accused (and later found guilty) of sexually assaulting a high school girl and bystanders did nothing (some even taped the incident and spread it on social media). In the Brock Turner case, the Stanford student who raped a young woman while she was unconscious, two men did intervene. Friedman hypothesized that compared to the U.S. students, the bystanders in the Turner case “grew up in Sweden, where all of these things are taught in age-appropriate ways in every grade, starting in kindergarten.”

However, this theory doesn’t give a pass to an older generation of men who are now facing accusations of harassment and assault. Whether you learn about consent or not, signs such as someone saying “no” or crying or reporting the incident should give an indication that what you have done is wrong. But as we sit on the precipice of a new way to think about consent and the role that men play in sexually abusing women, there is an opportunity to course correct for a new generation. Friedman told me that women have been speaking up against powerful men for generations and “the idea that women’s testimony alone is now going to change everything is a bit of a romance.”

Friedman urges us to talk about systemic solutions, including “pushing for gender parity in leadership” or “researching what approaches might be effective in making violent men less violent.” But while we are in the “middle of the beginning” of an unprecedented moment where more and more women are stepping up and saying #metoo, we have to ask ourselves how do we stop this normalized pattern of sexual abuse?

One plausible solution could be talking honestly to young people about what consent looks like and the appropriate ways to express desire.

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PRODUCTS

Speakable Lets You Take Action On News Articles That Move You

SOURCE: Techcrunch by Jordan Crook

It’s not uncommon to feel a bit helpless at the end of a news binge. Oftentimes, the news leans toward the negative side and doesn’t offer much in the way of a solution.

But Speakable, a startup founded by Jordan Hewson, wants to give people the opportunity to do something at the exact time and place that they feel called to take action.

The year-old startup today introduced the Action Button, which is a snippet of code that lives on publishers’ article pages and gives their readers the option to take direct action. Speakable’s technology is able to understand the content and sentiment of an article and match it with the proper non-profit partner.

From there, users can click the Action Button to send an email to a legislator or tweet to a decision-maker or even make a donation. But the Action Button, and it’s subsequent actions, never take the user away from the article page itself.

Speakable also vets all of its NGO partners to ensure that they have a big impact and appropriate funds responsibly.

The company already has big-name publishing partners onboard, including the Guardian US, The Huffington Post, and VICE Media.

“My long-term vision for the action button is to be able to go after other types of content, whether it’s a YouTube video or a documentary,” said Hewson. “Eventually, you should be able to come across any piece of content and take action within 30 seconds or less.”

For now, Speakable is entirely free to both publishers and NGO partners while the company focuses on growing and fine-tuning the product.

You can check out Speakable and the Action Button right here.

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JUSTICE

Illustrator Andrew Joyner honors the Women’s March with new book ‘The Pink Hat’

SOURCE: Mashable by MJ Franklin

In 2017, a new symbol was added to the toolkit of social activism: the Pussyhat.

In anticipation of the inauguration of Donald Trump, The Pussyhat Project sought to provide a visual representation of women’s solidarity by asking citizens to make pink Pussyhats and wear them to the Women’s March on Washington. The March and the Pussyhats were both a form of protest against the incoming president and his comments about women (notably his infamous Access Hollywood tape where Trump proclaimed, “When you’re a star they let you do it … Grab them by the pussy”).

The hats quickly became a symbol of resistance: pink yarn sold out in stores, they flooded the Women’s March with the color pink, and they even landed on the cover of Time and The New Yorker.

Now the activist message of the Pussyhat Project and the Women’s March is being memorialized for a younger generation of readers with a new picture book for kids: The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner.

In the book, Joyner shares the story of a pink hat that was knitted by a woman and used by the members of a small community (the woman knits it and uses it to warm her feet, a kitten plays with it, and a mother uses it as a blanket for her baby), until it gets stolen by a dog. Fortunately, a young girl saves the hat and uses it to join a larger movement to march for equality.

“The initial spark for the book was a conversation with my 14-year-old son about masculinity and role models,” Joyner says. “In fact, I first imagined the main character as a boy who finds a pink hat and joins the March. But clearly a girl belonged at the center of the story—and as soon as I drew that girl marching in her pink hat, the book started to take shape. She gave the story its power and its focus.”

Though the hat featured in the book is a simply a pink hat (not necessarily the Pussyhat, with its distinctive pointed ears), the book’s message of a girl finding a pink hat, which she uses to embark on adventures and stand up for justice, seeks to commemorate the Pussyhat movement and Women’s March. (In the background of Joyner’s illustrations, Pussyhats can also be seen among the crowd.)

“At a time when the world seemed to be spinning backward, the Women’s March gave me, and I’m sure many people around the world, hope for our future,” Joyner says. “Suddenly, all of these women and children and men had built a path forward that seemed impossible just a day before.”

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Killer Mike, Talib Kweli & Trae The Truth Will Be Featured Speakers At A3C’s Action Summit For Social Justice

SOURCE: A3C

Hip-Hop is a springboard, a sounding board, and an inspiration for some of America’s most innovative, creative grassroots initiatives. The 14 year old organization dedicated to educating and empowering the artists and entrepreneurs that shape hip-hop culture A3C knows the importance of supporting creative non-profits working hard to make an impact in their communities.

Last year, A3C launched the Action Summit for social justice to create a place to discuss social justice challenges, learn from community leaders and develop actionable initiatives. This year’s Action Summit features Killer Mike, Talib Kweli and Trae The Truth.

Action Summit Speakers

Over the past three years, the A3C Action programs have given more than $30,000 to 17 non-profits chosen from more than 500 applications. In 2018, the A3C Action Accelerator will invite another group of activists seeking to create real change for an intensive bootcamp in Atlanta. Co-developed and led by the Center for Civic Innovation, the training embraces all aspects of growing and running a non-profit: management, sustainability, scalability, messaging and marketing. The one-on-one work with A3C Action participants culminates in a Pitch Night(October 5, 2018) at the Action Summit, where one organization is selected by a panel of judges to receive $10,000 in funding.

2018 A3C Action Accelerator Finalists

Hip Hop Mentoring Cypher Sessions: A creative wellness program that uses hip hop to engage teens on issues of critical thinking, emotional wellbeing, and social justice

Words Liive: a technology-powered, music-based literacy program that aims to bring ¾ of the student population in the US to grade-level reading by 2040

Cool Moms Dance Too: Fun, multigenerational fitness and dance classes designed to improve the mental and physical health and connectedness of families

Supreme MCs Rule Hip Hop Expression Program: A music education program that uses hip hop as a gateway to self-discovery and positive coping skills

FlexIn FlexOut: Workshops get youth dancing inside detention and foster care facilities, coupled with programming to continue the mentorship once kids get outside

“The A3C Accelerator shines light on some of the most incredible grassroots ideas from around the country,” says Rohit Malhotra, Director of the Center for Civic Innovation. “Every year, we are inspired and humbled by the stories of people who, against many odds, are building programs for people in their community. It’s amazing to just be a part of their journey, and in a time like right now, their work is necessary to showcase.”

These grants are often the first, deciding influx of financial support these nascent change-makers see. As Malika Whatley of 2016 winner Chop Art enthused, “A3C Action was the financial first bet that was ever taken on ChopArt from an institution. It helped other funders begin to look at us and make investments as well, and media outlets interested in telling our story.”

The public can engage with a passionate community, learn about creative ideas and discover new ways to create change at the Action Summit on October 4-5, 2018 at the Auburn Ave Research Library for African American Studies. Speakers include Talib Kweli, Killer Mike, Shanti Das, Trae the Truth, Dr. David Wall Rice, Representative Bruce Franks, Jr. and other prominent artists, activists, and academics to be announced.

“I think the Action Summit is what makes A3C stand out from the rest of music festivals and conferences,” notes Stic of Dead Prez, “and this aspect represents its investment and involvement in elevating the community consciousness in a real way.”

PRODUCTS

9 Mobile Apps That Are Taking Social Entrepreneurship to the Next Level

SOURCE: Entrepreneur by Parth Misra

While the idea of social entrepreneurship isn’t new, it has taken a more concrete definition only recently. Twenty years ago, The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur by Charles Leadbeater was published, commenting on how a ragtag group of misfits and dreamers were mobilizing business resources and tactics for helping deprived communities or even lost causes.

The book set fire to the imagination of many entrepreneurs who wanted to pursue a higher calling. More motivated by tangible social change than inflating profit margins and satisfying shareholders, the social entrepreneurship movement has finally come of age and is an established business practice today.

As information technology has become more ubiquitous with business, its effect on social entrepreneurs was all but inevitable. The democratization of technology is empowering more people with information and creating value like never before. The mobile revolution has only taken this idea even further.

So, while being part of massive social change until recently could only be considered by people with deep pockets and big ideas, today everyone can contribute to something they care about. As long as you have a smartphone — and who doesn’t — you can now contribute to whatever issue you care about and have fun while you’re at it. Here are nine mobile applications that can help do just that.

1. Atlas Run.

Called the running app that gives back, Atlas Run is an interesting take on this specific app genre. Unlike most running apps, where the user sets a goal and then simply achieves it, Atlas Run gives you a chance to run for something you care about.

Companies that wish to support a nonprofit set up a challenge in the app, offering to donate an amount of money to a charity or nonprofit should it be completed within a defined amount of time (e.g. 3 months). For every mile the users run, bike or hike, a portion of the set amount is unlocked. When a challenge is completed, the amount is awarded to the organization.

Atlas Run is all about creating a community of like-minded people who want to sweat for a good cause and help to create awareness around social issues. Runners know how hard it can be to keep themselves motivated at times. However, doing it for a cause — particularly one that you care about — will give you all the more reason to complete that extra mile! Feel free to challenge your friends while you’re at it.

2. Micro Hero.

Online surveys are one of the quicker methods of making a quick buck online. Simply answering a few questions to get paid doesn’t get any simpler. However, once the sparkle of making money online dies off, those surveys really have a way of become boring and pointless, especially given the pay-off.

Micro Hero offers people a chance to contribute while answering such surveys. Simply download the app, choose a cause that you will like to help, and start answering questions to earn real money for it.

Much like Atlas Run, companies can set up surveys in the app and decide how much money they want to be awarded per survey and question. Unlike other online surveys, where users are paid, Micro Hero awards the earned money to a nonprofit the company and user want to support.

3. Fotition.

Can’t go for a day without taking a selfie? Fotition let’s you help out a charity by simply uploading photos. Social media really is one of the best tools available to spread awareness about any issue, and Fotition has found a great way to utilize it.

Campaigns can be set up by both charities and brands. Companies can use Fotition to donate money to a charity. Every time a user uploads a photo using their filter, the company donates a fixed amount to their chosen charity. For instance, Marvel Studios donated $717,230 to provide learning material for children in Nepal, Tahiti and the U.S. through their Hero Acts campaign.

Likewise, nonprofits and charities can use Fotition to create awareness about what they are doing, and give their corporate partners a better way to reach an audience. Finally, people can have a lot of fun while supporting issues they are passionate about.

4. We Day App.

You know what are the two hardest parts about doing something big? It’s getting started and sticking to it. How many of us wish that we could contribute to something big, making our lives more meaningful? We365 helps us do just that, in a fun way.

It works like this. A company or charity creates a challenge on the app. Every time a user completes the challenge, funds are donated to the charity. Anyone can create a challenge on the app. We.org, the company behind the app, has partnered with many brands, educational and charitable organizations that are committed to social change.

The creators of the app believe that every small action makes a difference and give people a way to take one positive action every day. You can connect with like-minded people who are pursuing the same challenges you are and spread the word, all while creating a real, tangible impact.

5. Forward.

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. After all, why discard when you could donate? But all too often, we have things to give away and no takers. The good people at Forward decided to do something about it and have come up with a simple app that allows people to turn their unused item into donations.

Download the app, take a photo of the item you wish to give away and what it’s worth, along with what charity/nonprofit you wish to support. The item is made available on the app within your locality. People who are interested in the item can bid on it, declaring how much they intend to donate. Monies from the winning bid are immediately transferred to the charity/nonprofit you have chosen.

6. Budge.

We all love to dare our friends to do something we know there’s a good chance they can’t. But, what if you could take a regular everyday challenges to the next level by using them to power change? That was the idea that led to Budge, a microdonations app that turns lively, everyday activities and games into a powerful tool for social change.

Once you get the app, set up a challenge and invite a friend to compete in it. The winner gets to brag, the loser has to donate a fixed amount to any organization that you want. Everybody walks away happy.

Typically, the donations are in the $1-$5 range. The makers of the app want to drive home the point that small contributions every now and then can have a massive effect, too. Budge has been received very well and has users in U.S. and Australia budging and donating. The app is available for iOS devices.

7. GiftaMeal.

As the name suggests, this app helps feed the less fortunate, all while helping you spread the message and getting more people involved. The app’s unique “buy one gift one” model leverages partnerships with restaurants to provide meal for the less fortunate.

With GiftaMeal, every time a user walks in the door of a partner restaurant and takes a picture of a food item they like with the app, a meal is donated to someone within the user’s locality. Meals are donated through their network of food banks including Operation Food Search in St. Louis, Lakeview Pantry in Chicago and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit.

8. Givvr.

Pay-to-watch ads have been around for a while — where users can earn some cash watching corporate sponsored videos. Much like paid surveys though, there is never a lot of money to be made, nor any satisfaction to be had.

The guys behind Givvr decided to take this idea further by letting users donate their earnings from watching corporate sponsored videos to a charity of their choice. Much like Micro Hero, where you have to answer questions to help your favorite charity, Givvr let’s you do the same by watching corporate sponsored videos. Your earnings are forwarded to a charity of your choice.

9. Instead.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. Many of us wish to contribute to charities and nonprofits only to gasp back to reality after taking a look at our upcoming expenses. Instead helps you get around this nagging issue by actively making suggestions on how to save more money via smarter day-to-day choices.

The makers of the app, Ovenbits, say they believe that every little bit counts. Instead is essentially a microdonations portal that lets you donate to a charity of your choice. So, when you’re at Starbucks the app may suggest that you forgo your coffee, and donate to, say, the WWF.

The app will only make suggestions within a dollar range that you have to decide when you sign up. It also keeps track of all your donations, which serves as a good reminder of how much charity you have done.

All of these apps essentially gamify philanthropy and utilize microdonations to help out a charity or nonprofit. Almost anyone with a mobile device can join in and start helping out their preferred organizations. Even making a few dollars worth of contributions every now and then can have a phenomenal impact.

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JUSTICE

How Silicon Valley’s Sexist ‘Bro Culture’ Affects Everyone — And How To Fix It

SOURCE: The Verge by Shannon Liao

From the beginning, women were at the forefront of computer technology: both Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were pioneers of computer programming. But as computers rose as an industry, the number of women in the field did not follow — instead, after 1984, their numbers declined drastically.

In her book Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, Bloomberg TV reporter Emily Chang uses history, scientific studies, and dozens of interviews to piece together a broad view of the male domination in Silicon Valley. Her subjects range from the genesis of toxic “bro” culture at emerging start-ups, to the online harassment campaign Gamergate, the #MeToo movement, and Susan Fowler’s blog post about sexism and harassment at Uber that eventually led to CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation from the company last year.

Chang is careful to let her subjects speak for themselves, and that often means quoting at length from their own statements or blog posts. We get to revisit James Damore’s infamous anti-diversity memo that claimed men were just scientifically better at tech than women, which got him fired from Google within days. In the spirit of just presenting the facts, Chang doesn’t add side commentary to these well-documented events, which can make Brotopiafeel like dry textbook reading at times.

At times, reading Brotopia may seem like a return to notable tech articles from the past decade, but its breadth and depth allow the book to go deeper about the false assumptions and excuses people make about the gender imbalance in tech. Almost every venture capital fund and every tech company she interviews, for example, attribute tech’s problems with women to some other source, and fail to see where they might contribute to it.

Some recruiters might say that it’s harder to hire a woman in a position at a VC or tech company because of a limited pool of women computer science graduates. But, Chang argues, male college graduates aren’t subject to the same requirements. Only 61 percent of the top male investors on a 2015 list of Forbes Midas List of standout venture capitalists had a STEM degree, and all but one of the women on the list had STEM backgrounds. The discrepancy points to a double standard: why could men majoring in history and literature get hired but women couldn’t?

In the final chapter of the book, Chang writes, “Writing this book has been like going on trek through a minefield, with fresh mines being laid as I walked.” To those who are new to the subject, Brotopia offers concrete examples of obstacles and problems what women have endured in the industry, from small daily annoyances to bigger grievances like the wage gap and sexual harassment. In one anecdote, Uber engineer Lydia Fernandez, who is trans, said that she started to get interrupted in conversations after she transitioned but when she used to present as male, she had no such problems. She says in the book, “I’ve sat on both sides of this table; this game is rigged.”

Chang cites films like The Social Network and Hidden Figures in her book, the former shorthand for Silicon Valley’s bro culture and the latter shorthand for innovative women in tech. When reading Brotopia, it’s easy to envision it as a film — but as a documentary, to help keep all her carefully researched facts straight. Women who have triumphed in tech despite the odds, like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, could be the film’s heroines, and so would the young girls learning how to code despite it all.

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LABOR

Silicon Valley’s Favorite Anonymous Chat App Just Launched A #MeToo Channel

SOURCE: FastCompany by Pavithra Mohan

Blind, the anonymous chat app of choice for tech workers, has created a dedicated #MeToo section. In keeping with its mission to “bring transparency to the workplace,” Blind hopes the new channel will encourage women in tech to come forward with their stories. If anything, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner since many such conversations were already taking place on Blind.

After engineer Susan Fowler wrote about her experiences at Uber a year ago, employees at the ride-hailing company reportedly spent hours on Blind each day, dissecting the fallout from the blog post heard ’round the world. Employees from more than 100 companies–the largest percentage hailing from Amazon and Microsoft–have also flocked to the app. Blind is most popular amongst the tech set, but employees from any industry can use it.

The #MeToo channel is public and can be viewed on the Blind site, though anyone who wants to create a post will have to download the app. As you might expect from an app frequented by tech workers, a few, uh, questionable posts have already popped up. Here’s hoping the good outweighs the bad.PM

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EDUCATION

The Newest American Girl Doll — An Astronaut On A Mission To Get Girls Into STEM — in stores now

SOURCE: Moneyish by Nicole Lynn Pesce

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

Getting more girls into STEM isn’t rocket science – you just need to fire up their imaginations.

That’s the mission behind American Girl’s new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, who wants to be the first person on Mars. The Mattel-owned toymaker debuted the aspiring astronaut doll on “Good Morning America” last week before a group of girls dressed in official NASA flight suits.

“I really like that she’s an astronaut and that she’s trying to inspire people,” one kid told “GMA.”

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

American Girl teamed up with an out-of-this-word advisory board, including NASA’s former chief scientists Dr. Ellen Stofan and NASA astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, to make their first STEM-themed character’s story and product line as accurate as possible. Luciana is an 11-year-old who wins a scholarship to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. So American Girl editors and product designers visited Space Camp and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to see a day in the life of a trainee, such as putting on space suits and learning the “right” way to eat in space, or conducting a mission in microgravity.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

“It is so important to find exciting new ways to inspire our next generation of space explorers,” said Dr. McArthur Behnken in a statement. “I always want to encourage girls and boys to pursue their dreams, no matter how big, and I think it helps to show how those dreams can become reality for any kid.”

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (PRNewsfoto/American Girl)

Luciana and her accompanying storybook series are available today, when American Girl stories nationwide host launch parties that feature interactive science demonstrations, a Moon Phase craft, galaxy-inspired treats, and more. See americangirl.com/retail.

American Girl has also launched a Blast Off to Discovery program with Scholastic, NASA and Space Gamp to get third through fifth grade students engaged in exploring space, which includes Luciana-inspired STEM-based lesson plans and classroom activities, videos and a game that will be available on scholastic.com beginning Jan. 31, 2018. Families can also enter the Mission to Mars Sweepstakes hosted by American Girl and Scholastic, going on a series of weekly missions for a chance to win prizes like a trip to Space Camp.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

It pays to get boys and girls interested in science. STEM college majors had an average starting salary of $65,000, or almost 25% higher than those in non-STEM fields, according to a 2014 Department of Education report. Yet there’s still a gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. While young women in grades K through 12 participate in high-level mathematics and science courses at similar rates as their male classmates, and undergraduate women earned 50.3% of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce.

American Girl introduces its new 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega, a creative, confident 11-year-old who wants to be the first person on Mars. (American Girl)

“Luciana is a role model for today’s girls—empowering them to defy stereotypes, and embrace risks that will teach them about failure and success as they chart their own course in life—whatever the goal,” said Katy Dickson, president of American Girl, in a statement. “For us, it’s all about building girls of strong character, and it’s why we’re continuing to encourage girls to lead change and embrace #charactercounts.”

Lego’s new NASA collection.

This is the latest toy giving girls the tools to explore careers in math and science. Earlier this year, Lego released a $25 “Women of NASA” collection that included astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, known as the “Mother of Hubble” (as in the space telescope); scientist Margaret Hamilton, who was the lead software designer for the Apollo 11 moon landing; and astronauts Sally Ride, who was the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. It became Amazon’s best-selling toy the week it landed.

And the $30 GoldieBlox construction toy and storybook set, which won Educational Toy of the Year and People’s Choice Toy of the Year, features a girl engineer and her dog sparking creativity and curiosity by getting kids to build a belt drive.

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PRODUCTS

Calendar for Good: A Brilliant South African App Inspiring You To Do Good Everyday!

Source: Good things guy

Imagine if we all remembered every day to do a good deed – no matter how small – how wonderful a place our country would be.

That’s exactly what we all can achieve, with the South African National Blood Service’s (SANBS) brand-new Calendar for Good app, which is currently available for download. The national marketing manager for SANBS is Silungile Mlambo, she says:

“Users of our app will receive a push notification every morning with a suggestion for how to make a world of difference to someone else’s day,” says Silungile Mlambo, national marketing manager for the SANBS. It doesn’t have to take much effort nor does it even have to cost anything, because the true value of any good deed is the thoughtfulness, the caring, behind it.So we’re talking about simple gestures such as complimenting someone, surprising someone with a chocolate, sharing snacks at work, inviting someone to exercise with you, or giving an old friend a call and reconnecting”.

Along with daily suggestions for making the world a better place, the SANBS Calendar for Good will also encourage people to make a blood donation – another simple act of kindness, but one that actually saves lives – and notify users of SANBS activities in which they can participate. “After all, when it comes to donating, it’s not just donating blood. Each unit of blood donated can save three people’s lives. And what better deed can there possibly be, than giving others – complete strangers – the gift of life?” asks Mlambo.

The SANBS Calendar for Good is downloadable for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Simply search for “Calendar for Good”, and you’ll find it in no time.

“Go on, do it. And please tell others about it on your social networks using #calendarforgood, too. The more of us doing good deeds, the better our world certainly will be – and, of course, the more we can encourage people to make lifesaving blood donations,” says Mlambo.

Download the Calendar For Good app for Android or iOS by clicking here.

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PRODUCTS

Green Giants Make Over $100 Billion With Sustainability

SOURCE: Just Means by Kelly Eisenhardt

Interview with Freya Williams, author, “Green Giants”

There are nine corporations that make over $1 billion in annual revenues from products or services with sustainability or social good at their core. These companies are known as the Green Giants.

Freya Williams is North America CEO of Futerra, a global sustainability communications and consulting firm whose clients include Danone, SAB Miller, Estee Lauder, AXA Insurance and Unilever. Her longstanding career as advisor to such companies, in addition to her work with the United Nations, has helped provide insights for her new book, GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. With a primary focus on teaching companies how to incorporate sustainability, responsibility and social good into their businesses and brands, and make money at the same time, she has many successes to share.

You have a book out called GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. What is a Green Giant and how are Green Giants defining business history?

The Green Giants are nine companies each generating over a billion dollars in annual revenue from products or services with sustainability or social good at their core. Selling everything from burritos to airplane engines, they realized the potential to not just conserve, but make, money from sustainability-inspired innovations. Collectively, these more sustainable business lines generate over $100 billion annually.

How do these companies impact the lives of global consumers and can you share a few examples?

Their impact is broad and large but perhaps their biggest impact is that they have made products not just greener, but better, so consumers no longer have to choose between performance and sustainability.

Tesla is one of the Green Giants. They saw that the majority of environmentally friendly vehicles traded off performance for sustainability and as a result, only appealed to a niche customer. Tesla wanted wider appeal. They wanted to build an environmentally sound product that appealed to consumers focused on performance. Tesla is not just an environmentally superior product, it’s the highest performing car Consumer Reports has ever tested. Its competition is not the Toyota Prius, it’s the traditional luxury automakers.

Chipotle has done something similar. They source their meat from humane, ethical sources, partly because it’s the right thing to do but also because they believe this is tastier food that will make for a better burrito. So consumers are drawn to the food for the superior taste, and love the added benefit of choosing a more environmentally and ethically sound product. Chipotle’s performance shows this is a winning combination for consumers. Their revenues have increased four-fold in the last years as their focus on better ingredients has increased. Their competitors have been forced to follow suit because consumers now demand these better ingredients.

All of this disruptive innovation creates a pathway for others to succeed. These companies have created a hybrid model where transparency and responsibility has taken over from the last century’s focus on functionality only.

Because Green Giants tend to lead the way within their industry, are brands more at risk for criticism due to over exposure?

It takes a lot of courage to be disruptive and then stick to it.

Courage, leadership, and passion all play a part in the success of the Green Giants. At each company, the strategy is led by an Iconoclastic Leader who has gone out on a limb to drive change. And sure, they do face criticism. Some people are waiting for them to fail. Others say they’re not doing enough. But there is also great upside to risk. These companies have finally cracked the code on sustainable, profitable business and the results are paying off for their companies and all of their stakeholders.

Don’t forget that businesses also face criticism for not engaging in sustainability programs. There is a risk to leading and a risk to lagging. In my view, it’s better to get caught doing the right thing. Plus, as the Green Giants prove, if you do nothing, you’re leaving this billion-dollar opportunity on the table.

In your book, you describe six traits Green Giants have in common. How do these traits affect the way products are designed, manufactured, and brought to consumers?

My journey in writing this book was to research companies who have been successful building billion-dollar, sustainable business lines and then find out what these companies have in common.

There were six factors that I discovered. In each case, the strategy is led by an iconoclastic leader. They practice disruptive innovation, have a purpose beyond profit,  sustainability is built in to their business, rather than bolted on, they have achieved mainstream appeal, and have established a new behavioral contract with their employees, suppliers, and management.

To expand on each quality a little further, if there isn’t an iconoclast driving the commitment in the top levels of the organization, then the company won’t have the commitment needed to build the billion dollar business, let alone implement sustainability in its core.

Incremental improvement won’t cut it. The company needs to believe in and employ a plan for disruptive innovation. Green Giants invest in bringing successful, sustainable products to market. For example, GE has demonstrated their commitment with the $25 billion they have invested in Ecomagination since 2005.

Green Giants are all guided by a purpose not only to be financially successful, but also to positively impact the world. It may seem counter-intuitive, but having a purpose beyond profit makes you more profitable than pursuing profit alone.

To fully realize the opportunity, sustainability efforts must be integrated with the overall strategy and operations of the company. Many companies have departments that manage sustainability efforts. They are tasked with pruning for efficiencies and managing impacts. This is crucially important but it doesn’t drive billion-dollar growth. Green Giants don’t put sustainability into a side box. They embed sustainability into their corporate strategy, their cost and incentive structures, their organization and their operations. Nike has done a great job with this. They have integrated their sustainability teams with other teams like design and finance. They create a cross-pollination across the groups so that they can share knowledge and ideas.

The way companies succeed in a consumer base beyond the super-green niche comes down to their mainstream appeal. In the early days of green marketing, by relying on green cliches like tree frogs and green leaves, many companies inadvertently made their message only relevant to the 20% of consumers who care about sustainability. The green giants have figured out how to sell sustainability to demographics that might not put the same emphasis on sustainability. For example, 82% of consumers think that being green or sustainable is for women not men. As we talked about Tesla earlier, Tesla made sustainability with sleek lines and performance. Tesla created mainstream appeal with people who love to drive and they made sure men knew it was not a punishment to drive their car but that it’s the best car ever.

When people think about businesses behaving badly, they think about things like the financial crisis. Green Giants take a different approach by implementing a new behavioral contract with employees and stakeholders. This can be seen in their approach to responsibility, transparency, and experimental collaboration. Corporate responsibility is taking responsibility for the value chain before being pressured by outside sources, it requires being proactive. Being proactive leads to identifying risks and vulnerabilities and communicating concerns, which is transparency, and experimental collaboration is the willingness to be open with competitors to solve common problems.

If sustainability is not a fleeting fad but instead is an escalating business priority, why aren’t more companies embracing sustainability as mandatory business process?

We are seeing positive momentum. Ninety-five percent of the world’s two hundred and fifty largest companies now produce sustainability reports.

But the myth that sustainability and profit are at odds is persistent. The question I’m continually asked is, What is the business case for sustainability?

Profiling the Green Giants has enabled me to make the business case much more strongly because these companies are successful right here and now. The opportunity is in the present tense. And it’s billion with a B. Whether or not you believe in climate change or the social responsibility of business, this is an opportunity you’d be crazy not to seize.

Freya Williams is North America CEO of Futerra, a global sustainability communications and consulting firm and the author of GREEN GIANTS: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses. For more information go to www.greengiantsbook.com

 

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PRODUCTS

From Bean to Bar: Askinosie Chocolate Arrives at Target

SOURCE: A BullsEye View by Target

After 56 hours of plane, train and automobile travel from his home in Springfield, MO, Askinosie Chocolate founder ShawnAskinosie approached the single dirt road that would lead him to the Tanzanian village of Mababu.

Driving through the village on his most recent trip, Shawn found himself surrounded by a tropical landscape—coconut, palm and fruit trees—and out of the left window, looming large above the village, the Livingstone mountain range welcomed him.

Shawn is constantly on the go, traversing the globe to visit the farms in the Philippines, Honduras and Ecuador that supply the cocoa for his family-owned artisanal startup. Having started Askinosie ten years ago after quitting his job as a criminal defense lawyer, Shawn built his business from the ground up. His passion to turn a love of chocolate into something greater and more meaningful, helps him relate to his farmers—it’s kinship, he says. 

“We are so hyper-focused on quality it’s crazy. It’s one of the reason I travel so much, I’m constantly tasting beans and testing beans and looking at the harvest practices so that the quality is better and better,” says Shawn.

This year, Askinosie became part of Target’s Made to Matter offering. The sweet result of the collaboration? Three exclusive chocolate bars for Target—on shelves now!—that are traceable back to the farmer—Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate + Crushed Almonds & Vanilla, Dark Milk Chocolate + Goat’s Milk. 

“The relationship between Target and Askinosie has been one in which our small size has been honored as opposed to pressured,” says Shawn. “And as the ‘little guy’ it’s something that I deeply appreciate.”

So why the Tanzanian beans for these exclusive bars? The chocolate derived from the cocoa has a versatile and approachable flavor profile, perfect for people ready to “dip their toe into the deep end of dark chocolate.”

Take a look at the map below to learn more about Askinosie’s bean to bar process!

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If We Want to End Rape Culture, We Need To Address Insufficient Sex Education, New Book Says

SOURCE: Mic by Samhita Mukhopadhyay

Since the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein in October, we’ve seen a steady stream of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, media and politics, which have included indecent exposure, inappropriate touching, masturbating in front of unwilling onlookers and even assault in the workplace. We are also witnessing a rare moment where women’s stories are impacting the way we think about men, power and rape culture.

But what about the way we think about sex? “Rape is not about sex” has been a longtime adage of anti-rape activists, partially in an effort to define rape as what it is: an act of violence rooted in power. Rape is not sex, but it is sexualized violence. Rape culture, or the social norms that allow for sexual assault to occur, include how we think about sex and how we think about sexuality, so it makes sense that if we want to end rape culture, we might also need to address the ways we are taught about sex.

Jaclyn Friedman, author and “pleasure” activist agrees that saying “rape isn’t about sex” is “too facile and leaves a lot of people confused. Rapists use sex as a weapon of power,” she told me over email.

In her new book Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, Friedman tackles the structural barriers, like sexualization of women in the media and insufficient sex or consent education, that are preventing us from having fully actualized sex lives. Through profiles of sex therapists, researchers, activists and community organizations, she guides us through all the ways we’ve been “screwed” into thinking we have independent and fully realized sex lives (what she calls “faux empowerment”). Ultimately, she argues we are still restricted by gendered expectations of what sex should be like, who initiates or dominates in sex and whose pleasure we are focused on.

She’s got a point. From romantic comedies to the most low-brow pornography, a few common themes jump out. When it comes to heterosexual sex, these stories tell us men should dominate (masculinity is practically predicated on this assumption) and women “succumb” to the advances of men. In these stories, men will do anything to “get laid,” while women want to get married and settle down. When women in movies, TV and porn are sexual creatures with desires of their own, they’re considered radical or groundbreaking.

According to Friedman, “All media that depict sexuality help shape our ideas of sexual assault and consent.” And that’s whether we realize it or not. Friedman told me, “The myth that talking about consent is unsexy comes from nearly every romance ever depicted in even PG films and TV. The idea that rape can ‘become consensual by the end’ comes right from Game of Thrones.”

One obvious opportunity for intervention in how we consume messages about sex and consent is determined in our youth through sex education. In the United States, there are two predominant methods of sex education. One is comprehensive sex education, which includes teaching about contraceptive use and discussion of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The other is abstinence-only education, which teaches students that not engaging in sexual activity is the only true way to avoid consequences, such as pregnancy and STIs.

 Sex education is a controversial issue in the U.S., which is administered at the state level and, often, the district level. In Unscrewed, Friedman wrote that “Only 24 states and D.C. mandate that schools teach any kind of sex ed at all.” The CDC concurs. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “37 states require that information on abstinence be provided; 26 states require that abstinence be stressed; and 11 states require that abstinence be covered.” In one analysis, 23% of schools teach abstinence only, which is up from 2% in 1988. And even though studies have shown that, often, abstinence-only education is ineffective in actually preventing unintended pregnancies, assault or STIs, the funding for it continues.

Friedman told me that since many young people are left to their own devices to explore their curiosities about sex, they tend to turn to free online porn, which she said often means “lowest-common-denominator porn.”

In a Washington Post op-ed, Dr. Julia Long, sociology professor and author of Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism, writes that “the content categories of two of the most popular tube sites — XHamster and Pornhub — reveal a dismal pattern of endless scenarios of male dominance and female subordination, categorized by specific acts, female body parts, race and age.” One glance at any of these websites (should you dare) and you are inundated with images of sex that can be objectifying and violent in unsettling ways. Hardly, does one actor stop to ask another if she’s happy with what is happening or if it is what she wants.

 Perhaps it seems like a crooked line to draw, sex education at a young age to old men in power sexually abusing women, but Friedman tells me there is evidence that age-appropriate sex education helps people identify when something is consensual or not. She used the example of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, when two high school football students were accused (and later found guilty) of sexually assaulting a high school girl and bystanders did nothing (some even taped the incident and spread it on social media). In the Brock Turner case, the Stanford student who raped a young woman while she was unconscious, two men did intervene. Friedman hypothesized that compared to the U.S. students, the bystanders in the Turner case “grew up in Sweden, where all of these things are taught in age-appropriate ways in every grade, starting in kindergarten.”

However, this theory doesn’t give a pass to an older generation of men who are now facing accusations of harassment and assault. Whether you learn about consent or not, signs such as someone saying “no” or crying or reporting the incident should give an indication that what you have done is wrong. But as we sit on the precipice of a new way to think about consent and the role that men play in sexually abusing women, there is an opportunity to course correct for a new generation. Friedman told me that women have been speaking up against powerful men for generations and “the idea that women’s testimony alone is now going to change everything is a bit of a romance.”

Friedman urges us to talk about systemic solutions, including “pushing for gender parity in leadership” or “researching what approaches might be effective in making violent men less violent.” But while we are in the “middle of the beginning” of an unprecedented moment where more and more women are stepping up and saying #metoo, we have to ask ourselves how do we stop this normalized pattern of sexual abuse?

One plausible solution could be talking honestly to young people about what consent looks like and the appropriate ways to express desire.

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Speakable Lets You Take Action On News Articles That Move You

SOURCE: Techcrunch by Jordan Crook

It’s not uncommon to feel a bit helpless at the end of a news binge. Oftentimes, the news leans toward the negative side and doesn’t offer much in the way of a solution.

But Speakable, a startup founded by Jordan Hewson, wants to give people the opportunity to do something at the exact time and place that they feel called to take action.

The year-old startup today introduced the Action Button, which is a snippet of code that lives on publishers’ article pages and gives their readers the option to take direct action. Speakable’s technology is able to understand the content and sentiment of an article and match it with the proper non-profit partner.

From there, users can click the Action Button to send an email to a legislator or tweet to a decision-maker or even make a donation. But the Action Button, and it’s subsequent actions, never take the user away from the article page itself.

Speakable also vets all of its NGO partners to ensure that they have a big impact and appropriate funds responsibly.

The company already has big-name publishing partners onboard, including the Guardian US, The Huffington Post, and VICE Media.

“My long-term vision for the action button is to be able to go after other types of content, whether it’s a YouTube video or a documentary,” said Hewson. “Eventually, you should be able to come across any piece of content and take action within 30 seconds or less.”

For now, Speakable is entirely free to both publishers and NGO partners while the company focuses on growing and fine-tuning the product.

You can check out Speakable and the Action Button right here.

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JUSTICE

Illustrator Andrew Joyner honors the Women’s March with new book ‘The Pink Hat’

SOURCE: Mashable by MJ Franklin

In 2017, a new symbol was added to the toolkit of social activism: the Pussyhat.

In anticipation of the inauguration of Donald Trump, The Pussyhat Project sought to provide a visual representation of women’s solidarity by asking citizens to make pink Pussyhats and wear them to the Women’s March on Washington. The March and the Pussyhats were both a form of protest against the incoming president and his comments about women (notably his infamous Access Hollywood tape where Trump proclaimed, “When you’re a star they let you do it … Grab them by the pussy”).

The hats quickly became a symbol of resistance: pink yarn sold out in stores, they flooded the Women’s March with the color pink, and they even landed on the cover of Time and The New Yorker.

Now the activist message of the Pussyhat Project and the Women’s March is being memorialized for a younger generation of readers with a new picture book for kids: The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner.

In the book, Joyner shares the story of a pink hat that was knitted by a woman and used by the members of a small community (the woman knits it and uses it to warm her feet, a kitten plays with it, and a mother uses it as a blanket for her baby), until it gets stolen by a dog. Fortunately, a young girl saves the hat and uses it to join a larger movement to march for equality.

“The initial spark for the book was a conversation with my 14-year-old son about masculinity and role models,” Joyner says. “In fact, I first imagined the main character as a boy who finds a pink hat and joins the March. But clearly a girl belonged at the center of the story—and as soon as I drew that girl marching in her pink hat, the book started to take shape. She gave the story its power and its focus.”

Though the hat featured in the book is a simply a pink hat (not necessarily the Pussyhat, with its distinctive pointed ears), the book’s message of a girl finding a pink hat, which she uses to embark on adventures and stand up for justice, seeks to commemorate the Pussyhat movement and Women’s March. (In the background of Joyner’s illustrations, Pussyhats can also be seen among the crowd.)

“At a time when the world seemed to be spinning backward, the Women’s March gave me, and I’m sure many people around the world, hope for our future,” Joyner says. “Suddenly, all of these women and children and men had built a path forward that seemed impossible just a day before.”

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