Just Atonement Mission

The World Needs Ideas

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For most of our previous century, the world needed one primary thing (or rather, many things that fell under the same subheading): Stuff. More stuff. Higher quality stuff. Cheaper stuff.

When a young child was born into the developed or developing world, he or she could dream of no brighter future than one which featured a central role in this assembly line of stuff. Working in a factory, managing a team of workers, or owning a business have all been perfectly aspirational life options, all forms of cranking out the raw materials and finished goods that the people of the world have craved and have been eager to pay for. For more than a century, more stuff and better stuff made life easier, safer, healthier, more convenient and longer for all of us. Stuff has paved the roads, streamlined medical care, made living spaces cleaner and more efficient, made food tastier and safer, and made entertainment more available and more entertaining.

On the hierarchy of ideas, from bad to great to brilliant, most of the profitable ones have involved “inventions” (new stuff) and better ways to use, make and distribute the stuff that exists already.

But it’s possible that we’re reaching “peak stuff”, and the best ideas that lie ahead will fall into a new set of categories: not stuff, but fixes. If you’re a child born into the world today, we may need something new from you—Not inventions and objects, but solutions. Specifically, solutions like these:

Identifying new sources of energy

Our primary energy drivers have so far relied on the same basic idea: we burn something (coal, oil, natural gas) and use the resulting heat to turn turbines and charge batteries. Wind and solar energy are stepping in to turn the same turbines and charge the same storage units, but new possibilities abound…if we can identify and harness them. They’re everywhere, from tides to geothermal heat to the pounding of thousands of feet down a sidewalk that captures that motion and uses it to charge fuel cells. If we can collect the clean and free-roaming energy all around us, we’ll all reap the benefits.

Making habitations cooler

Cities are essential to the support of human life. They’re the hubs of humanity as we know it—centers of art, commerce, culture, communication, and human vibrance. As the planet warms, cities are also poised to trap excess heat and become very difficult places to live. But what if we painted roads and buildings white? What if we designed streets so the wind could blow through a clean channel and carry excess heat away? What if we planted trees that shielded and protected the most densely populated areas? What else?

Cleaning up

In our rush to make, transport, sell and use the stuff that defines modern life, we’ve polluted our oceans, waterways, soil and air far beyond the point of easy recovery. But this recovery isn’t optional; our future depends on it. How can we approach each of these areas of the world around us and form a plan to systematically extract the plastics, heavy metals, and chemical byproducts that reside there? We can do it—We just have to figure out how.  

Developing new forms of economic stability

People don’t just need food and shelter to live a good life. They need paychecks. Or more generally, every person on earth has an inherent right to pursue some form of financial stability and independence. But as the population skyrockets, automation takes the place of manual jobs, farms consolidate, and more and more people migrate from place to place in search of better conditions, what will all of us do for a living? A universal basic income would be nice, but how will such a thing come to pass? We don’t know yet. But we’ll need to figure it out. The clock is ticking.

Will you be one of the great minds of our new era? Will you be one of the rare few who will generate the ideas and solve the problems that define our new century? Let’s get to work!


Building a Human Rights Organization: Our Biggest Challenges

As Just Atonement begins to coalesce around a concrete mission, we’re driven by excitement and a strong sense of purpose. We believe that our core goals are built on some of the most pressing needs-- even existential threats—that democratic societies will face during the 21st century, and we’re gathering tools and resources that can meet these needs and push back against these threats. But we’re not alone, of course. Countless nascent human rights organizations with equally vital missions are springing up across the globe, and many of these organizations are likely to face challenges very similar to ours.

So what are some of these critical challenges? And how can we work together to overcome them? We’ve listed three obstacles that are likely to arise as we move forward, and we welcome your thoughts and suggestions as we search for solutions.

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1.       Mission Creep

Making the world a better place and pursuing a vision of global peace are hardly new to the field of human endeavor. Many organizations with similar goals have come before us, and while some have cleared the path and laid the stones on which we’re now traveling, others have stumbled and fallen for one simple reason: the atomization of what started as a single goal. We aim to keep our vision focused, and when a project sprawls beyond the boundaries of our mission and capabilities, we intend to enlist the support and help of experienced partner organizations with relevant knowledge and expertise. We’re constantly in search of guidance and support from specialized organizations with a long reach and deep roots into areas of science and policy development that extend beyond our own. We’re ready and able to ask for help when we need it.

2.       Shifting public interest

While much of our support will come from legal experts, volunteers and partner organizations, we will also rely heavily on a donor base that may rise and fall based on the shifting winds of the 24-hour new cycle. We will always strive to draw clear connections between daily and seasonal threats (such as localized weather events) and broad, universal trends (such as rising sea levels and fluctuating ecosystems). In doing so, we hope to remind our audience of the links between individual events and global shifts affected by current weaknesses in the fabric of international law.

3.       The insidious nature of tyranny and corruption

Too often, leaders who have abused power or carved out dangerous spheres of influence have done so by following a well-traveled path. This path is marked by strategies as old as civilization itself, including reliable tactics like propaganda, fear-mongering, false equivalence, voter suppression, financial corruption and criminal acts of war and international aggression. These are the acts that our organization hopes to rebuff and forestall, but these tactics are historically insidious and effective. We intend to search for grassroots-level solutions, such as improvements in education, information-sharing, and sustainable farming. We also look for ways to reduce the poverty, isolation and desperation that can render populations vulnerable to these pressures.

Our goal involves gathering research and taking legal action in defense of those who are vulnerable to gaps and uncertainties in existing international law. We intend to hold global leaders accountable for actions that fail to protect individuals from looming threats that transcend national borders, including climate change, war crimes, and international trafficking.  

Again, we welcome your suggestions as we gather our resources to face the challenges that lie ahead.