Monthly Archives: June 2015

Teens Win Climate Change Lawsuit

In an unprecedented decision, a judge in Washington State has ruled in favor of a group of young people who filed a lawsuit last year asking that the state be required to develop a science-based plan for limiting carbon emissions in order to protect the climate for future generations.

The lawsuit, Zoe & Stella Frazier v. Washington Department of Ecology, was brought last year by eight teens and preteens, the youngest nine years old, who filed a petition last June with the Department of Ecology, requesting that it develop a rule “to recommend to the legislature an effective emissions reduction trajectory that is based on best available climate science and will achieve safe atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide by 2100.”

Film Influence in Recent Social Movements

The most frequently referenced film for recent social activists is V for Vendetta, about a British man who takes on a future dictatorship, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. The Arabic Academy for Change recommended these films to activists in addition to V for Vendetta, The Matrix, Battle in Seattle, Hitler: The Rise of Evil and Gandhi[i]. On the Internet, movie fan communities are a new source of activism, like the more than 100,000 Harry Potter Alliance fans who raise money for causes such as sending medical supplies to Haiti and books to Rwanda.[ii] “Avatar activism” refers to Palestinian demonstrators dressed like the extraterrestrial Na’vi featured in the film Avatar (2009).[iii] Thai protesters in 2014 used the three-finger rebel salute featured in The Hunger Games films and Egyptians used four fingers raised with a folded thumb. The Spanish leader of the new Podomos Party gave the videos of the Game of Thrones TV series to the king, who smiled. Pablo Iglesias (age 36) edited a book applying the series to Spanish politics titled Win of Die: Political Lessons from the Game of Thrones (2014). His party popularlized the slogan theat “Winter is coming for the PP” ruling party. He drew inspiration from the character of Khaleesi who frees slaves when she assumes power in a new city as he aims for Podomos to change the economic system. Imaginative popular culture can be morphed into concern for others.

[i] Herrera, p. 84.


Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker. The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. Jossey-Bass, 2010.


Girl Power

Girl as savior of the world is portrayed in the 2015 Disney film Tomorrowland, although I didn’t find reviews that emphasized this central theme. High school student Casey Newton is brilliant, brave and optimistic like Athena, a very human–like girl android (played by a 13-year-old) who recruits her to stop destruction of the earth. Casey’s NASA engineer father’s motto was, “If two wolves always fight, one is despair; the other is hope, which wins? The one you feed.” George Clooney’s character Frank realizes that Casey’s optimism is the key to victory because as a science geek she knows how things work and takes risks. Because the girls don’t accept the inevitability of destruction, they change the future. They in turn recruit young androids to find other dreamers and optimists to counter dystopian pessimists in their plan to prevent destruction of the world.

Ruffalo on Feminism

In a bold, eloquent statement, “Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo has hit back at what he terms the “‘I am not a feminist’ Internet phenomenon.”

“First of all,” his Tumblr blog piece reads, “it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, ‘I’m not the feminist babysitter.’”

The post continues: “You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago”.

Further, it argues, “You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

“You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.”

It concludes: “In short, kiss my ass you ignorant little jerks.”

Originally posted in March, the post has gained attention following a Reddit Ask Me Anything interview.

Ruffalo is known for his advocacy of women’s rights. In 2013, he penned an open letter about his mother being forced to have an illegal abortion, arguing that her experience—and the experience of many others—showed that women are treated as second-class citizens.