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Because Voting Isn't Enough: Ten Easy Pieces

Living one's values can seem a daunting task, especially if those values are outside the mainstream, or you're struggling just to earn a living. That's why this list of ten relatively easy things you can do to change the world is so welcome. It's from the Small Planet Institute, the brainchild of Frances Moore Lappe, who wrote the seminal guide to socially-responsible eating, Diet for a Small Planet, and her daughter Anna.

The list includes: eat locally and organic, buy locally, support fair trade, get a "diverse media diet," host a teach-in, and get involved in a cause. Just don't get all perfectionist about it and think you've failed if you haven't done all ten. Doing any of the ten is way better than doing none of them. Tackle them one at a time, and pull back if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

I particularly like the diverse media diet" suggestion, which means getting your news and other information not just from the usual sources but from alternative sources such as the liberal magazines ("The Progressive The Nation etc.), and Internet publications such as Alternet.org Indymedia.org and CommonDreams.org If, every once in a while, you see an article that might challenge (wihtout alienating or insulting) one of your less-progressive friends or relatives, you can send them the link with a personal note - that's a profound form of activism.

The thesis of Lappe's latest book, Democracy's Edge, is that: "The crisis isn’t George Bush; it's Thin Democracy -- the dangerous idea that elections plus a market economy are enough." Nicely put. I'm halfway through the book right now and think it's terrific.

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