The author of “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth,” is creating a new guide: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Radical Right (and Save Democracy in America). I know that some of you are conservative and will ne appalled by this, but what good are Monday mornings if you can’t have a little fun with them! If I don’t know some o9f you well enough to be this bold, my sincere apologies. To others, I’m deliberately tweaking your nose.


Forwarded by Tom Schmitt/MGIC on 03/28/2005 08:35 AM -----

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From: at:

Dear Friends:

Enclosed is an email about my latest book project. As you’ll see,I’m depending on your grassroots assistance to make it work.

My request: Please send this on to at least 20 politically progressive people, with your own short note of support, asking them to send it to 20 people as well. Through the miracle of the internet (and with your help), my initial email to 250 people will then reach 100,000 people in a few days! Thanks-I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I’m writing on behalf of the Earthworks Group to ask for your help. Fifteen years ago we created and published 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth — an environmental “self-help” book that became a #1 bestseller. Between 1990 and 1994 we distributed nearly 10 million
books in the “50 Simple Things” series. Now, for the first time in a decade, we’ve decided to write a new volume: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Radical Right (and
Save Democracy in America).

Here’s why: Like you, we were upset and angry about the results of the November election; it felt like a death in the family. Then the Radical Right began flexing its post-election muscles — intimidating politician
attacking school boards, harassing TV networks. They acted as if the 57million people who voted for Kerry didn’t even exist.

It dawned on us that this is a critical moment for progressives: We can sitby and watch as right-wing extremists shred the Constitution. Or we can
fight to preserve American democracy.

As far as the Earthworks Group is concerned, the only questions are: “What should we do?” and “How do we get started?” That’s why we’re writing to you. We’re compiling a list of the 50 most effective things individuals can do to fight the Extreme Right. We’re hoping you can suggest one or more of them and that you’ll pass this email on to your friends, so they can help, too.

Once we have the best ideas, we’ll adapt them to the user-friendly format of the original 50 Simple Things books and create our new book — an activist’s guide that we hope will inspire and empower progressives all over the US.

                A few basic guidelines:

  1. Each Thing has to seem “do-able” to the average person.

If it feels overwhelming, it’s counterproductive.

  1. No symbolic gestures. Readers have to feel each action will make a real difference (whenever possible, we provide facts to prove it).
  2. Use your imagination. Think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think “subversive.” We’re not subversive, of course, but as we’ve learned from the Radical Right, nothing is too outrageous to consider or adapt. What seems outrageous to one person could just be clever to

someone else.

Note: We’ve included more details at the end of this letter)

Email any ideas to And PLEASE, send this email on to every progressive you know — friends, co-workers, colleagues, fellow bloggers. We know from experience that there’s no telling where the best ideas will come from.

Anything we use will be acknowledged. However, please understand that all the ideas we receive will become our property, to use in the book as we deem best.

And finally: we think this project is so important that we’ll be:

  • Working overtime to get “50 Simple Things” into bookstores

immediately (by June, we hope)

  • Keeping the retail price as low as possible

  • Using profits to create and maintain a website that enables people to share their efforts ad ideas.

For more info, you can contact us directly. Thanks for all your help.

John Javna
The EarthWorks Group

APPENDIX: 5 types of actions we’d like you to consider:


Small, easy changes people can make in their lives that will have a measurable impact. Example: Switching your long distance phone service to Working Assets means 1% of every dollar you spend will go to

Simple actions that establish a political presence in your
community, or simply build your own sense of strength. Example: Someone we know politely asks bartenders to change the channel whenever Fox News is on. If they refuse, he explains to the manager that they’re offending a customer.
If they still refuse, he leaves.


Useful skills to make your efforts more effective.
Example: How to do research on the internet; how to learn more about critical issues; how to find advocacy groups; how to find opposition arguments.

Other examples: How to write a letter to the media; how to argue effectively; how to frame an issue; how to organize a letter-writing campaign


Techniques to get the most out of your actions.
Example: “Stay Focused.” Radical Right pundits are like rodeo clowns their job is to distract and anger you so you lose sight of what you’re really trying to accomplish. Important ways to stay on track.


Positive, creative ways to take on important issues.
Example: Fight anti-evolutionists by supporting science education in your school district — and in Washington. There are lots of ways to do it.


Ways to work directly on elections (in addition to voting and running for office.) Example: Work to guarantee that electronic voting machines also generate a paper ballot for use in possible audits or recounts. Only a paper ballot can guarantee that the machine recorded every vote exactly as the voter cast it, which is basic to our democratic process.

Last edited by g.   Page last modified on March 28, 2005

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