Three weeks out from Christmas, two questions roll through many of our minds. "What do I get for that person in my life who has everything?" and "Where should I make a charitable donation for somebody who has nothing?".
Can't help you with question #1. But when it comes to #2, I think I've found the best idea anyone has ever conceived for solving the problems of untold millions -- perhaps even billions -- of our fellow human beings.
Let's buy them a satellite.
Gee, wouldn't they maybe like a donation of food if they're starving?
Medicine in they're sick?
A little something to help them get by until they can find a job, get an education or overthrow a corrupt or oppressive government?
How about you give them the ability to do all of those things -- and so unimaginably many more -- with one single small contribution.
Because if we buy a satellite, we can get people without any Internet access at all onto the World Wide Web.
It may be hard for those reading this post on their desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone to fathom, but 5 Billion people who share this planet with you have no Internet access. None. Nada. Zip.
That's 70% of Earth's current population.
Almost 3/4 of us have never seen a Youtube video, whether it was telling us to leave Brittany alone or how to make a solar panel out of tinfoil.
Only one human being in four has the opportunity to post information on Wikipedia. Maybe one of the other three actually knows what they're talking about.
If about 2 Billion humans translates into getting cows through Kiva for some farmer in Borneo, or your film crowd source funded, or your band a gig in a town they've never heard of before or make your self published book finally get read -- how much difference could another Billion or two make to helping similar (or bigger) dreams come true?
This is a win-win situation for all of us.
But it must cost a fortune to buy a satellite, right?
How does $150,000 sound -- about the cost of a one bedroom condo in Toronto?
Right this minute, an NGO known as "A Human Right" is raising $150,000 to buy the world's highest capacity communications satellite from the current owners, who have just declared bankruptcy. Their plan is to reconfigure it to supply Internet access to many of the world's poorest people.
Once the satellite is operational, they will then build and supply their own dirt cheap satellite modems to whoever wants one.
And once their bird is up and running, its ongoing operations and upkeep will be covered by allowing established telecom services to purchase and re-sell high speed bandwidth.
As outlandish and astonishing as the whole project sounds, those involved with or backing "A Human Right" include Deutsche Telekom and NASA.
Remember that thing your 3rd Grade teacher always said when she handed out the UNICEF collection boxes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."…?
Internet access could teach a lot of men how to fish -- or -- how to spend all day drunk in a boat. The point is they'd finally have some options and some choice, instead of what most of them have got now, which is nothing -- and not even any Lolcats to make having "nothing" easier to bear.
As of Midnight Saturday, "A Human Right" had raised $25,000 toward their goal. If you give them a hand by going here, that satellite could be owned by people who could make a huge difference in Millions of lives by Christmas.
And think about this…
If this can be done -- how much more could be accomplished by purchasing 2 or 3 satellites?
Or maybe just a little one parked over North America so all those telecoms who want to strangle net neutrality or throttle bandwidth or charge you through the nose to download a movie for your bedridden grandmother -- all those guys -- might not have a virtual monopoly of the delivery system anymore and thus have far less impact on your own freedoms -- or your own opportunity to fish.
Help not the few but the many this Christmas. And -- Enjoy Your Sunday.