A GOOD Experiment: First Progress Report

Progress report on our Global Action Expirement

A short time ago I introduced the Global Action Experiment, a project here at GOOD that is close to my heart. Simply put, we are building a vibrant community of “doers” that are making a difference in the world. Our progress so far has been good and we have learned a lot about actions that work and others that fail to gain traction. As a reminder, our hypothesis is: engaging in actions with a purpose related to countries other than your own, no matter how informed you are, will connect you more deeply with the issues they are facing. In other words, participating in global actions will make you a better global neighbor.

I asked for your suggestions on actions people can take in this regard, and you responded with some great ideas. We then turned them into "Do's", a feature of our community site that allows you to share your related stories about the good you are doing. We are now a few weeks in and I have learned a few things:

1. Mindfulness is a good starting point. Given the behavior we have seen elsewhere on the site, people are interested in being more mindful of their actions, and “Do’s” tapping into that sentiment received a strong response. We have translated this to a global focus: Eat a meal from a country in conflict and Play GeoGuessr, then learn something about where you land in the world.

2. How you phrase things matters. Give up a First World Problem failed to get any global-related responses, thus putting it outside of this experiment. (Yes, in retrospect it seems obvious that would happen). Positive priming and appropriate context are critical to stimulating desired actions.

3. The actions that will garner the greatest participation are difficult to predict and sometimes counter-intuitive. For example, I created two "Do’s" related to travel. One that I thought was easy (Travel like you give a damn) and the other that seemed somewhat scary (Host a traveler from another country). Surprisingly, the scary “Do” had greater participation.

4. Great calls to action give permission for people to share their own stories. The Step up to make the world safer for women "Do" inspired "doers" to share their past and present stories of how they play a role in ending violence against women.

Please help us take the next step in this experiment and contribute any stories you have to one of the "Do's" linked above or start a new one.

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less