Long winded, but the point is in order to stop us externalising the destructive costs of our societies towards the future, to make that future the litmus test of everything. In the form of benchmarking everything on how it impedes or improves the rights and lives of children, putting their human rights as the key stone of every decision.
It’s very hard to get adults to reason properly about the human rights of other adults, because we always tend to say “well, their conditions are their fault.” Lot of black people wind up in jail? “That’s either bad policing, or bad behavior, or both” says the adult analysis. “Lot of black children are getting substandard educations” well, this is clearly not their fault. You can say their parents are responsible, and basically abandon these kids to the mercy of their environment, whatever random spot they were born in, or you can say “the children have fundamental rights as children and these rights require us to act on their behalf as a society” and, for example, really seriously invest in and fix education. You see what I’m saying? We can get leverage on issues like race in America by using the human rights of children, free from moral responsibility for their fates, as a universal standard by which to measure our obligations. The same kind of logic applies to the environment: “is this commons being handed over to the children, its future owners, intact, or is it being degraded in a manner that violates their rights.” That gets you concepts like natural parks protection from fracking etc. very nicely.
In short, making the rights of children fully explicit, and enshrining them in our legal systems may be the shortest path forwards to creating a world in which we, as adults, are also protected. But the children first: none of this is their fault, and they should be protected as best we can.
And a rights framework for children, something simple, reasonably universal, clear and easy to work with is certainly possible. We can do this.
As you may remember from your visit Peter, we live on a “bicycle street” where “cars are guests”, and marked by having a reddish road deck (the color of cycle paths across the country), and their own road sign.
our street, you see the colored road deck and the sign on the right hand side
Legally they’re bicycle paths where other traffic is allowed in addition. As far as I can tell, formally that doesn’t change any of the rules (speed, right of way), and it’s first and foremost a set of visual cues for cars to behave differently.
Something like that might still work for downtown Charlottetown, despite making parking free giving the opposite signal. Making signs like that, in consultation with inhabitants and business owners could be a step still open to you, as constructive civil disobedience of sorts. It’s quite common here too for people to mark stretches of road they live on with signs about the behaviour they’d like to see from traffic (usually warning signs for kids at play etc.).
Today we joined the HSTM20 Unconference, organised by our friend Oliver with logistics support from Peter, who live on Prince Edward Island in Canada. HSTM stands for Home Stuff That Matters, that last bit is a nod to our STM birthday unconferences, so this is as Peter said today, another branch on the evolving tree of unconference events.
The Home, in Home Stuff That Matters points to us all being home due to the pandemic, and to the two questions we discussed. What have you learned from the pandemic that you want to keep for the future? What do you like about the place where you live?
We were over 25 people, from around the world, across ten time zones, so from morning coffee time to end of afternoon, and evening. It was a nice mix of familiar faces and new ones, spending two hours in conversation. It was good to see dear friends, as well as meeting people again we first met last year when we visited Peter, Catherine and Oliver on PEI for a face to face unconference.
The event also showed how well Zoom works. With over 25 participants from literally around the world, with a wide variety of bandwith and tech savviness it worked without issue, splitting up from a plenary into multiple groups and rejoining into a plenary. It’s in a different class than other tools I’ve been using, even with its dubious information ethics.
Regrouping ourselves as Oliver’s tribe this time, it was an excellent way to kick-off our weekend.
Part of Oliver’s tribe in conversation today
My friend Peter has a conversation with Cynthia King, about life and death on PEI, landing in and joining a community, belonging and actively creating community. Taking in podcasts is not my thing, but I very much enjoyed listening to this one.
Peter Rukavina shares his life experiences about belonging to a community and navigating his way through challenging times.
Jason Fried of Basecamp writes up nicely why I have been reading their communications handbook recently.
For many, moving from everyone’s-working-from-the-office to everyone’s-working-at-home isn’t so much a transition as it is a scramble. A very how the fuck? moment.
That’s natural. And people need time to figure it out. So if you’re in a leadership position, bake in time. You can’t expect…
Good to see this conversation between Howard Rheingold and the good people at Edgeryders (yet another place I’m more of a boundary spanner, link to a G translated Dutch posting I wrote last week) happening. Is the communitarian Internet back in the wake of COVID-19? Howard brings the perspective of the late 80’s, early 90’s, as does Edgeryder’s own John Coate. I too see a surge in online conversations and actions that feel more like back then, than what the likes of FB silos have been algorithmically feeding us the last 5 years or so. It has been brewing for a while already, with a slow but steady trickle back to blogging. Even if that trickle was mostly people returning to their earlier online spaces, which they left for FB and Twitter post 2006. The sudden surge now that everyone and their mother, literally, is coming online more or less full time, may expose a much wider population to the type of community based interaction that was prevalent before social media and ad-tech domination.
Bookmarked a post (Edgeryders)
Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HowardRheingoldJI4.jpg I have been online since 1992 – hell, I practically lived online most of these 30 years. What drew me to the Internet was not the presence of shiny, easy-to-use, free services – they were not there in the early days. On the contrary, you had to put in time and money if you wanted to, as we said then, “connect to the Internet”. But the reward was high. Whatever your tribe, you would find it. Whether you cared about particle…