Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's the big idea?

Building things take time. This is true for tangible things like sewer systems, railways and organizations of people; but it's also true for less tangible things--like this "virtual dhaba." Still, given that we've been open for just under two weeks, the people at Google Analytics tell us things are going well. We've had 1200 page views from nearly 500 "unique" visitors who came from 15 countries. Of course, you serious bloggers will recognize we are still a small time operation. But we're meeting our goals and expect continued growth in the future.

We've had a lot of help from some great blogs, including Known Turf, The Plastic Graduate and the Spaniard in the Works. Go check them out. Other friends have twittered us, mailed around our link, and reposted our stuff on Facebook. Someone from The Brecht Forum in New York City saw us and liked our essay on GDP for 9 year olds enough to post it (minus hyperlinks and graphics) on their website. It's strange how word gets around these days.

We are terribly grateful for all the help; please continue to continue to spread the word if you like what you see.

As we grow, you'll see us move around the furniture from time to time. You may have noticed our new categories widget-- "What's the big idea, Mister?" It doesn't work as well as we'd like it to, but it's a start. Here you will find the Greenlight categories explained (this post), how it all works; what to do; and why worry.

As we've said elsewhere, the Green Light Dhaba serves up fresh thinking about the environment, economics and justice. We think these things are related. We believe humans should live in a sustainable way on this planet. We believe in old fashioned values like fairness, justice and respect for all people. And, at all times, we will defend humour as a human right. In fact, we assert the right of animals to laugh also, as many of them apparently do, according to recent research. (Yes, that orangutan is laughing.)

Conversation, education and agitation are the mainstays of our menu. We will talk with you and learn from you; we will do our best to teach you things you don't already know in a way that is neither condescending nor needlessly complicated; and we will be provocative, because we think the world is faced with enormous problems, and we need to think fast and think well if we are to have any hope of putting things right.

What you won't find here is a 12 point programme for action or a linear argument about what is wrong and/or how to fix it. This is not a political tract, nor is it a "how to" manual. It is a collection of loosely linked and modifiable (remember to comment!) essays and media.

But even a virtual dhaba needs some organization, so here are some notes about what our categories mean.

how it all works
The world is a complicated place. From time to time, we'll post things that attempt to simplify and clarify often-misunderstood issues or concepts. Of course, we hope most of our posts will do this to some extent. But here you will find posts that set out to do this explicitly.

what to do
As mentioned above, we will not give you a step by step plan of action. We will suggest things individuals and governments can/could/should do to improve the world.

why worry
There's a lot to worry about in the world. We'll do our share of joking, but we won't kid you about this fact. Here is where you will find posts exploring the problems we face.

This section isn't up yet, but we hope it will be soon. Here we will highlight the voices of organizers and activists who are struggling for a sustainable and just world. If you have an idea about a group you'd like highlighted, send us a mail.

That's it in a nutshell. Please take a moment to browse old posts and tell us what you think. And do remember to check out the events later this week in Delhi organized by the Indian Youth Climate Network and others. You can find information regarding this at the end of Saturday's post; we'll put up more details tomorrow as well; it's going to be a busy week here at the dhaba!


  1. Congratulations! I'll try and do my bit to promote this site as well )


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