We’ve all heard the expression “think globally, act locally.” This aphorism holds a particular potency today, as many people feel powerless in the face of huge corporations and bureaucracies. But what does acting locally mean, actually? In the type of micro-politics advocated by radical democracy proponents like Chantal Mouffe, this mean being political in every aspect of everyday life. So local doesn’t just mean becoming an activist in ones town. It also means being political at the breakfast table, with friends, or at school and work––or on your laptop computer for that matter.
The Platform for Good initiative is a new project to encourage kids to think about social change. The simple premise is that thinking about what is “possible” (as opposed to what exists now) can start at any age. So why not encourage young people start making things better. As discussed on the Smart Mobs blog, “A Platform for Good initiative builds on Change.org in order to integrate and promote youth social activism in the classroom. The younger generation definitely has a voice, as proven among others by the Chilean Penguin Revolution, and a right to express their beliefs and personal preferences concerning the direction toward which different things go in the world. Change.org is a wider platform where people and groups of all ages can start petitions on issues they want to solve by gathering and harnessing social support. If enough support is obtained, the battle for the respective change is won.
The Platform for good makes use of these online collaborative resources with the goal of cultivating among students a sense of digital citizenship and involvement in social activism by initiating social movements for change at the level of local and national communities. On the website, links are given for successful projects like the First Woman Moderator of the Presidential Debates in 20 years, the Lorax Petition Project (with an environmental message built around the movie Lorax), and the Crayola Recycle Markers Project. Such examples educate and inspire students to believe in their power to make their country and the world a better place to live in.