The Ten Minute Activist is a project by The Mission Collective, a group of San Francisco-based writers and activists who wanted to show others that it's not difficult to make small changes that can make a cumulative difference in one's life and on the environment. The outcome of the project is a fascinating book filled with oodles of information and world-saving tips -- everything from how to power your house with greener energy, to greener waste disposal and better gardening tips. The best thing about the book is that it is not just a how-to guide; it is also filled with facts galore, some of which, like the following, you could rattle off at cocktail parties to shock new acquaintances: 170,000 tampon applicators make their way onto the U.S. coastline each year.
On Wednesday, June 13th, the authors of The Ten Minute Activist presented the book at Modern Times bookstore in the heart of The Mission on Valencia Street, an appropriate location for a book reading by a group that calls itself The Mission Collective. The useful and quirky book that includes powerful facts, practical information, and even cartoons was definitely compiled in a creative San Francisco fashion.
Three members of The Mission Collective presented at Modern Times where they talked about their enthusiasm for the project to a very small audience. Each activist involved in the project espoused an interest in building and supporting local communities, because, as they emphasized, it is difficult to make big changes in the world, but easy to start with the smaller changes and infect others to do the same. Deacon Rivers, activist, collective member, and Elvis fanatic, emphasized the need to have a winning strategy for change. Making small, individual changes in behavior is one way to be able to see the change that you enact. Another member of the collective talked about the importance of supporting local communities and the arts. The self-proclaimed punk, illustrated his point by talking about community-based alternatives to going to clubs to hear concerts. In particular, he lauded the efforts of one group that holds concerts on a large white bus and also in their Oakland collective.
The presentation predictably covered the importance of conscious consumption practices, which is a primary focus of the book. The collective may be preaching to the choir with their small volume, but they argue the necessity of inspiration. And the book is intended to inspire individuals to make small, positive changes in their own lives that serve to reduce individual impact on the environment and may have the additional positive side effect of saving money.