The People United

Ban Ki-moon calls for people power!

This week I attended a public address given by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. I found him to be humble, compassionate, and strong in his convictions – as all world leaders ideally should be. His talk was really engaging, especially when he called for each of us to take personal action to alleviate climate change and improve our communities. One piece of advice he gave particularly struck me (paraphrased here):

We must not mistake connection for unity. Connection relies on technology. Unity relies on us.

This idea really resonated with me personally. For example, I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago because, while it was an amazing tool that allowed me to stay connected to hundreds of friends and acquaintances, I felt those connections were not particularly meaningful. To use Ban’s language, I did not feel united with the people I was connected to on Facebook.

On the other hand, we have the recent Egyptian revolution, where connection brought unity among protesters. Social technologies such as Twitter allowed for real-time connection between hundreds of thousands of people within Egypt and around the world. But would any meaningful change have occurred if those people had not also felt united in a common vision for a new Egypt?

We live in a tech-savvy world, where it is now possible to connect to like-minded individuals across the globe. Where it is also possible to meet virtually, to discuss, to organise, to inspire, and educate. Communication tools such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress are free and widely used.

The question remains: How can we leverage this connection to unite in action for a better world?

Your ideas will be greatly appreciated.

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About Cassandra

Hi, I'm Cassandra. I work in fundraising, love travelling, and am fascinated by how we can inspire one another to greatness and spread human kindness. Connect with me on twitter @cassandra_nz

4 comments

  1. In my opinion, these connection would be best used to promote action. For example, if we would like to see our government take action on climate change (as I do), we can use our connections to educate people about the situation. We can also encourage people to write, call or speak to their elected officials. If there are public events taking place, we advertise them and encourage participation through our connections.
    And we encourage all of our contacts to spread the word through their connections.
    The David Suzuki Foundation (Canada) does a great job of doing all of the above. They also have a section on their website that talks about how individuals can become active in their community. (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/)

    • Hi, thanks for your message. I agree that these communications tools can be invaluable for campaigning. Both Greenpeace and Avaaz, for example, are really good at using technology to rally disparate individuals to take small actions. I do also wonder how we transfer that action to larger, off-line activity as this seems to be a little trickier.
      Thanks for the link to the David Suzuki Foundation website – you’re right they are using these technologies really effectively. I also really like the tangible tips and guidance they give on how to take personal action. Thanks for sharing.

  2. A good start is to change the doctrine embedded in the U.S. government, which places Corporate profits above all else, above the well-being of its envirnoment, above the well-being of its community, above the well-being of its people the government is supposed to serve.

    • Hi, thanks for your message. I agree with you that something has got to change with respect to the level of power and influence corporations currently exert in global life. How do you think we can use connectivity to achieve a change like the one you are suggesting?

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