Compass(ion)

The Doe Girl I described in my previous entry was someone I observed while travelling on a bus last week. Watching her plight, the doe metaphor came naturally because of her movements and the deer-like features of her face, her nose especially. I was curious about what was causing her anxiety and felt compassion for whatever she was suffering. Unknown pain can often be the hardest to offer comfort for, and of course we’ve all been condtioned to not offer comfort to strangers. I felt compelled to offer something, but my mind failed me until we arrived at my stop.

One of the brightest spots in the blogsphere is WorldChanging.com. WorldChanging offers reviews of links dealing with technology and how it can be used positively and integrally to better the world.

WorldChanging.com works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. That plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it’s here. We only need to put the pieces together. (WC)

This core, noble philosophy is one we’d all do well to adopt, to take active interest in creating the communities that can breed change, not just technology-based change. WorldChanging has a rather broad focus, on environmentalism, social issues and sustainability notably. If you’re at all interested in progressive change, this is one site at which you can begin.

Among the articles at WorldChanging I came across a review of Robert Neuwirth’s Shadow Cities and his blog Squattercity. The book and blog focus on the topic of squatting communities, communities that are the home to a billion people across the world.

I’m a writer who spent two years living in squatter communities in four continents. These neighborhoods–which dominate most of the cities of the developing world–are vibrant and energetic, but horribly misunderstood. My new book, Shadow Cities, is an attempt to humanize these maligned settlements. (squattercity)

From the review I gather he also shares the history of squatting and takes on property ownership. I’m looking forward to picking up the book and reading it firsthand, as community and poverty (specifically building and combatting them respectively) are both topics I am deeply interested in.

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