Introducing Turn 21

by Craig Litwin

Originally published by resilience.org


As part of Launch Turn21, we were recently interviewed for the University of Hawaii’s student paper, Ke Kalahea. Here are the answers to their questions, useful in conveying what Turn21 is about. 
 
What is Turn 21?
 
Turn21 is a group of committed and concerned citizens of the planet dedicated to preserving the only world we have, here in the 21st Century.  Our goal is to educate, inform, and exponentially grow in number those individuals who share this vision in order that we may take action as fast as possible to preserve the planet’s ability to sustain life.
 
What is Turn 21 trying to achieve?
 
We have put out a massive call to action every month, every 21st, urging all concerned people to be activists at least one day a month. Our hope is that this effort will spread like mycelium. 
 
Launch Turn21, our call to action for April 21st (the day before Earth Day) urges everyone to take action now and be involved every month on the 21st in protecting our planet from further destruction, preserving it for the future. 
 
As part of Launch Turn21 we are showcasing 7 amazing groups that are doing incredible work around the world. But mainly, our underlying purpose is to stoke the flames of activism because “business as usual” is morally unacceptable, given the challenges we are facing as a planet.
 
How can someone join Turn 21?
 
It’s not really an organization you can “join” in the sense that there are fees or membership dues. Of course, we have a website and people can sign up to receive our newsletter via email, but mainly we see ourselves as a resource—that catalyst--for getting individuals to commit to the collective action that real transformation is going to require.
 
How did Turn 21 form, and by whom?
 
It started with a group of like-minded individuals—a network of brainiacs with hearts, you might say--who were interested in articulating the realities of the situation we find ourselves in and finding ways to educate and promote radical action. Where did it start? Where did Rosa Parks start, or Darwin, folks who demanded we view things for what they are? Our culture was born from the industrial revolution and is heading towards a cliff full steam ahead. It is fair to say that our dire predicament as a human species is where this was born.
 
How did it get its name?
 
It was a catchy name that brought together the new, 21st century and the idea that it was time for each one of us to grow up, to act like we care about our home and future generations. We then tied it to the 21st of each month as an easy trigger to remember to consistently take action.
 
How is Turn 21 different from other advocacy programs?
 
The main difference is that it is not driven by membership numbers. We are advocating for action every 21st of the month, as an individual, in an affinity group, or by joining groups and organizations that are already doing great work, often in one’s own community. Being a paid activist is a job, and many live, sleep and dream about their work. We are not suggesting people quit their day-job, but take at least one day a month to be part of the movement if you are not  already a full-time activist. 
 
What are Turn 21's plans for 21st of this month? Next Month?
 
As mentioned earlier, this month—the day before Earth Day, which seemed appropriate—is our huge effort, Launch Turn21. Our website Turn21.org is showcasing 7 organizations that have joined Turn21 as Affiliates and we will be doing cross-promotional work with them for the month of April and beyond, encouraging folks to plug in and help out wherever they can. In May we will be expanding and showcasing new Affiliates as they join us and we will have a special focus on the Resiliency Challenge, a project of Daily Acts, during the month of May
 
How wide is Turn 21's reach? Small groups here and there, statewide, national, global? If it isn't widespread, are there any plans for promotion?
 
We are in a global crisis. We’ve been involved with groups and actions in places like Kenya and Greece, but because the U.S. is such a major polluter and believer in growth above all costs, our efforts have initially centered on U.S. organizations and actions. Actions speak louder than words, and through increased collective action we can promote this globally.