Yao Ming recently launched a public awareness campaign in china targeting the nation’s consumption of ivory and rhino horn, after having spent twelve days last august in kenya and south africa.
poaching kills more than 25,000 african elephants annually, while 668 rhinos were killed last year in south africa alone, meaning that if current trends are not abated, both species will be extinct within our lifetime.
according to shark fin traders and hong kong import statistics, yao’s previous campaign against the shark fin trade is credited with a 50-70% reduction in chinese consumption last year.
"no one who sees the results firsthand, as i did, would buy ivory or rhino horn," yao stated. “i believe when people in china know what’s happening they will do the right thing and say no to these products."
he continued, “we would be outraged if people were killing our pandas. we should be just as upset with what’s happening to rhinos and elephants in africa.”
The sitting Congress has the most women of any in history. Artist Emily Nemens is capturing each of them in paint, and using their likenesses in graphics to show how far we still have to go to bring gender equality to Washington.
The women of Congress, in fabulous watercolor infographics
The open petition tool We the People is the single most effective attempt to engage the public by the White House under President Obama. It’s dead simple: create a petition on any topic you like: (“Legally Recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a Hate Group” has 356,860 signatures, while getting the president to do a coin toss at an Ultimate Frisbee game has 204). Collect enough signatures and the White House pledges an official response—even if your petition asks them to build a Star Wars-style Death Star.
Since We the People’s launch in 2009, 8.2 million users have contributed 13 million signatures on over 200,000 petitions. It’s a testament to the tool’s popularity that the threshold for triggering an official reply has been raised twice, from 5,000 to 25,000 to 100,000.
“It started because a lot of us had worked in online advocacy groups and saw a problem,” says Macon Phillips, the White House Director of Digital Strategy. “There were many petitions out there, but the connection with the target wasn’t that strong.”
Now the White House is opening up the We the People dialogue, with the official release today of a Read API that allows independent developers to create applications using petition data. On February 22, they held a hackathon in which developers from GitHub, Code for America, Blue State Digital, and more created apps like a Google alert-style petition tracker, and a mapper using zip codes provided by petition signers that shows how signatures spread across the country.
Mad men dealt with the MLK assassination last sunday. New York Mayor Lindsay and his actions were plotlines. Here’s what happened: