Making Advocacy Points with Data — or Humor

Two new sites popped up today that take very different yet effective approaches to advocacy. First, the serious side: the new site (Carbon Monitoring for Action) defaults to showing you the worst power plants in the world from a global warming perspective, but it’ll also let you find your own power provider and take a look at their plants’ emissions. Because the folks behind the site (the Center for Global Development) used a Google Maps interface, you can easily drill down to each plant and pop up data about how much power and pollution it puts out. Start adding those numbers up and it gets frightening fast.

Next up: satire, the highest art form, as the folks behind the Predatory Lending Association have figured out. Want to know the advantages of predatory lending over indentured servitude? Find out here! Need racial profiling tools? Try these! Quite clever — note the Military Loan Finder map application on the site front page that hooks you up with payday loan establishments clustered near military bases. The nice thing from an advocacy point of view is that both the hard-data and humor/satire approach can work if they’re done right. In these two cases, I think they were.

Update: After I finished this article, my NET intern Alicia LaPorte bombarded me with emails about the End Mountaintop Removal site, which also has great map features, video and a Willie Nelson song (can’t hardly beat that). It’s now her most favoritest advocacy site of all time.


Written by
Colin Delany
View all articles