Hi there. And welcome to the end of the year, and of Season 6 of the Subvrt newsletter. I'll be back in your inboxes on January 12, 2023 (damn, it feels strange writing that number).
But first, some updates:
New podcast episode: Hope in the dark
People are still drowning trying to reach European countries for a better life. And earlier this year, I interviewed Miguel Duarte, an activist who helped save 14,000 migrants from such a fate... and faced 20 years in prison for it.
He provided some fascinating, timeless insights that are worth hearing for activist citizens everywhere. I've now edited and cleaned up the audio, and yesterday I published my interview with Miguel on the Subvrt podcast.
For a snapshot, here's Miguel on the podcast talking about his first rescue:
It was a group of Christians from Nigeria, on a small wooden boat, at high seas. The engine wasn't working, and the people had been in the water for two weeks, under the Sun, super dehydrated. They all thought they were going to die.
And when they saw us, when they understood that they were about to be rescued, all of them started crying. And they began to sing "Hallelujah". A very emotional moment.
It wasn't even mid-day, and it had already been the most useful day in my entire life.
On Tuesday, December 20 at 6pm CET, the DiEM25 team and I will be doing a livestream on YouTube. Since it's a year-end show, instead of a specific topic we'll be sharing some personal thoughts and take-aways from 2022, and see where it goes. I'm looking forward to it. Tune in over at the DiEM25 YouTube channel. (And don't forget I put a selection of livestreams on the video debates page.)
Season 6 retrospective
And so ends another season of Subvrt. That was a short one. I busted some myths around Musk-Twitter (which as of writing is not looking like a haven for the free exchange of ideas, much to my disappointment), and looked at why you don't need massive numbers to make change happen. There was an interview with the organiser of the successful Don't Pay movement in the UK, as well as a write-up of lessons learned. An analysis on why informing people isn't enough to make change happen, and an exploration of the lens of common humanity as a persuasion tool. I hosted live YouTube debates with DiEM25 on Elon Musk, the cost of living crisis in the UK, and how to make Amazon pay. And I did interviews with an Amazon union worker and two prominent activists from the Global South.
No article today? Correct! I've been writing a piece that isn't quite coming together, and it seems impossible to make it come together because of the end-of-year rush and associated distractions. Subvrt is a great forcing function for my writing but even that fails me sometimes. Will aim to get better at this in the new year.
Which brings me to...
A better system for new years resolutions
New Years resolutions don't work. Instead, here's a great system that was pioneered by Tim Sanders, the Yahoo executive, that I've been using for more than a decade.
The original is now lost to web history, but it went like this. Make not one list of resolutions, but three:
- The Stop Doing List. What habits, tendencies or activities are counter-productive? Create a plan with a deadline, and knock these off first.
- The Keep Doing List. What are your greatest hits from the last year? What's working, and shouldn't be forgotten? This is important, because unless you recognize the effective, you might replace it with the novel.
- The Start Doing List. These are activities, habits or projects that could add value over the coming year. Consider this list the end of procrastination or the tool that will help you close the good intentions-accomplishments gap.
(Credit to Tim Sanders for the above – these are his words, not mine.)
A good read-it-later app is the swiss army knife in every activist citizen's toolbox. For years I've been using and recommending Reeder. But now there's a new kid on the block, and she looks hard to beat.
Readwise Reader (similar name I know) just went into public beta, and it's got many useful features Reeder doesn't. Like highlighting, annotations for YouTube videos, text to speech (listen to articles on the go), AI summaries, and a slick system for reviewing feeds.
It's free for now, and it'll switch to a subscription service sometime next year. I hate renting software, but give it a try. I think you'll be impressed.
Update 16/05/23: I shared my reading workflow with Readwise Reader in this post.
I leave you with something I discovered last week, and was fortunate to capture with my phone: a weird, wonderful halo around the moon. Apparently this is called an ice ring, formed by moonlight refracting though crystals suspended in the air.
All the best to you and yours, and hope to catch up in the new year. See you back here on January 12.