You might have to be Diane Sawyer to merit an international (and slightly off-tune) flash mob, but the public displays have become common in the last few years. Holiday flash mobs have shut down malls and lifted tired travelers' spirits as of late. Activists also organize to sing, dance, and draw attention to causes near and dear to them. Check out these five purposeful gatherings that focused on maternal and children's issues.
I don't know how shopping in pajamas could be such an epidemic that grocery chain Tesco made a policy against it, but it happened. Now the UK activist group Object is fighting back. Not because it supports shopping in PJs, but because it believes it's hypocritical to sell sexed-up magazines, like Maxim, while prohibiting jaunts through produce in fuzzy slippers.
Since March, the group's been staging protests at the store's London locations. Protesters in pajamas dart through aisles and cover up laddy mags with papers that say "Lad mags lie about women." Then to ensure their heard, they start a conga line while chanting "Hey, ho, sexist mags have got to go" until security guards conga them out the door.
I admit, I detested the very idea at first. Public displays of altruism make me uncomfortable. But Object has created meaningful change in the past, making it more difficult for strip clubs to get licenses in England (previously, it was as hard as opening a karaoke bar) and raising awareness about the realities of prostitution.
So what does Object ultimately want? "A society free of sexism," according to its website. It exists to challenge the sex-object culture, and the mainstreaming of porn in men's mags is its ground zero. To see its members in action, see a protest video below.
I'm sure most of you know about — and may have even participated in — one of the many breast cancer walks that happen annually. But did you also know that you can get vertical for the cause? Every year, outdoor enthusiasts reach new heights, literally, to honor the wives, sisters, mothers, and even sons who have been stricken by this disease. Together they raise money and ascend their way to the top of some of the world's most popular peaks like Kilimanjaro, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Ranier.
While some require prior knowledge or certification in mountaineering — like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Volcanoes of Mexico ascent — others, like the Breast Cancer Fund's ascent of Mt. Shasta, are open to newcomers. The thing you can be certain of is that it will be life changing and extremely physically demanding. Besides carrying the weight of a 50-pound backpack, you will be faced with acclimating to a higher altitude and dramatic changes in weather. Think of it like the most intense hiking trip you can imagine with a couple of tools thrown in. Is it worth it? Hell yeah!
To be able to participate in these climbs expect to first raise at least $3,000, and in some cases up to $12,000 for the cause. And while many of the climb for cancer trips organize training sessions for you, others set you up with a outlined program to follow until the big day arrives. If you're a newbie to outdoor sports, you can be certain that training should begin months before the big day. Trips are scheduled from the Spring through the Fall, and it's still not too late to sign up for the 2010 expeditions. If you're interested, check out the websites for Climb to Fight Breast Cancer and Climb Against the Odds.
I'm always telling you to get a workout partner so you have another reason to be motivated to stick to your goals. One way to take it the next step further is by becoming a running buddy with Girls on the Run — a program for girls age 8 to 13 years old that combines training for a 5k running event with self-esteem-enhancing, uplifting workouts. It is a great philosophy: teach girls about healthy living and self-respect when then are young, and hopefully these habits will stick for life.
The goal of Girls on the Run is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and physical development. As a running buddy ,you are paired with a girl to run by her side, encouraging her to do her best during a one-mile or 3.1-mile run/power walk. Not only will you be helping a girl achieve her own goal, but you'll be motivated to move too. Find a Girls on the Run branch near you to inquire about becoming a running buddy today.
Watch a video on the nonprofit organization featuring founder Molly Barker when you read more
Strong chompers take note: this toy's a sturdy option that will not only live up to powerful teeth, but also give back with each bite. You see, Vibram, the leading provider of military footwear for the most conditions on earth has teamed up with FetchDog to create a nontoxic rubber shape from the same molds used to make the soles of military boots and added a mountaineering rope for toss and tug times, too. Two bucks of every Chewy Shoe purchase goes towards the DogTags program at Puppies Behind Bars.
Now you may remember seeing Glenn Close honor members of the first New York DogTags graduating class back in November and tomorrow she'll be on Oprah to talk more about this program where prison inmates train puppies to become service dogs for soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. So tune in and give your own dog the boot . . . toy, that is!
It is an unfortunate truth that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. October might be breast cancer awareness month, but the disease still strikes 365 days a year. That is why Reese Witherspoon is working with the Avon Foundation For Women to fight breast cancer.
Fighting this disease is not just for the Hollywood elite. You can make a difference by participating in one of the Avon Breast Cancer Walks. Even their simple slogan — "For two days, we walk as one" — is pretty inspirational. The funds raised by walk participants help medically underinsured women and men receive the screening, support, and treatment they need. Proceeds from the walk also fund research for a cure for breast cancer.
Inspired to lace up your walking shoes? See if one of the nine walks is happening in your city when you read more
Lace up your walking shoes tomorrow and join millions of Americans for Start Walking Day. The American Heart Association (AHA) is urging folks to start walking on April 8: walk to work, walk with your co-workers, walk your dog, walk with a friend, just walk and keep on walking. As a form of exercise, walking has the lowest dropout rate, and it's free. Walking also doesn't require practice; it is low impact, safe, and simple.
If you get really fired up about walking, you can choose to participate in a Heart Walk to raise funds for the AHA, so it can continue its fight against heart disease and stroke. In the spirit of the event, build a team at work and walk regularly during your lunch hour. Then find a Heart Walk happening near you, and get out there and just put one foot in front of the other.
If you practice yoga regularly, chances are you've been through more than one mat. Since many of them are thin and begin to disintegrate with repeated use, you end up having to replace it at least once a year. Instead of mindlessly throwing out your mat, you can be green and recycle it. Visit the Recycle Your Mat website — the first mat recycling program.
Just wash and dry it, roll it, package it in brown paper, and mail it to:
Recycle Your Mat
4777 Larkwood Street
Eugene, OR 97405
Once they receive your mat, you'll receive a confirmation email with a coupon for 20 percent off an eco-friendly Manduka mat or other Manduka product. In 2008, 50 percent of the mats were "upcycled" into yoga products, and 30 percent were donated to local community programs. The remaining mats will be upcycled in 2009. It's a great way to do your part and keep mats out of landfills.
Finishing a marathon takes strength, stamina, and bravery — in other words, mettle. But mettle is not just a term applied to able-bodied runners; it also applies to folks dealing with life-threatening diseases or severe disabilities. Medals4Mettle is a non-profit organization created to honor those people who must endure personal marathons daily.
Medals4Mettle collects medals from marathon finishers and donates them to people battling diseases. Medals4Mettle celebrates our collective human courage, and our innate desire to reward and support each other as we face life’s challenges.
If you're interested in donating a medal you've received, visit their website to locate the chapter nearest you. This could be just the motivation you need to cross that finish line in your next race.