What are the best YouTube channels that will deepen your understanding of the world and inspire you to action? These few picks promote activism and education, the two pillars of change, empowering people all over the globe to make a difference.
Apart from being a virtual library for cute cat videos and meme compilations, YouTube can be a means of sharing knowledge and inspiring people to take action in the plentiful areas were our systems fail – from minority, diversity, and subculture emancipation to the climate crisis.
More than ever before, the internet is a minefield, and it’s fairly easy to lose your path in the labrynths of links and videos.
Where can you find educational videos and learn about the world, so that you too can make a difference too?
This is a relatively well-known and – simultaneously – abundant in top-quality content source of knowledge.
The TED YouTube channel is a place where you can get to know the stories of people through few-minute talks.
The TED speakers come from all backgrounds, covering technology, education, design, and more – from the future of Artificial Intelligence, through systemic answers to the climate crisis, to exploring the wisdom of Mongolian nomads.
Surely, this organisation keeps expanding its areas of expertise, with channels such as TED-Ed – featuring educational, animated videos on AI, literature, mythology, or health – and TEDxYouth – with independently-organised TED events, where the voice is given to the youth.
Spreading knowledge – in a way – is activism at its purest. The more we know about our world, be it with history, sociology, philosophy, or all of them combined, the more empowered we are to tackle humanity’s current problems.
The future is waiting for curious reformers and revolutionaries, motivated to change the world for the better.
The not-for-profit, membership-based media foundation AdBusters is an activist collective, aiming at addressing the problems of our current system – late capitalism.
They stand strong as a group entailing artists, designers, musicians, poets, and philosophers.
Through their website, they promote – among others – mental health awareness and well-being, the impact of consumerist, capital-based culture, and issues such as corruption, environmental collapse, and the ever-wideneing wealth gap.
Adbusters’ YouTube channel, ABTV, comprises podcasts, political satire, and other artistic forms of expression.
Their mission is to ‘clear the mental environment’ of today’s world, trying to counter the negative impact of social media, ubiquitous adverts, and the bad faith in the need for consumption.
By touching on frequently-controversial subjects and not being afraid of strong messages, organisations like Adbusters make us think – and doubt is the first step to taking action.
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Speaking of changing perspectives, Kurgesagt strives to broaden our points of view, focusing especially on technology, science, and philosophy.
With their outstandingly well-made animated videos, Kurgesagt gives us answers on – or at least pushes us to contemplate – the bigger picture.
Is there an antidote to dissatisfaction? What is intelligence? Is it too late to stop climate change?
The topics are indeed superb, often elbowing their way through the boundaries of our comprehension.
And that’s what makes this YouTube channel so mind-expanding in pursuing its educational mission.
Their passion for creating beautiful animations can only be exceeded by their love for sharing knowledge. As we can read on their website: “Nothing in the universe is boring if you tell a good story.”
This British magazine fascinated with subculture past and present is also a kickstarter platform for freelance writers, photographers, and documentary filmmakers.
On Huck’s YouTube channel, you’ll find life as it is – more often than not shown from a perspective you haven’t come across before.
Not only are Huck’s videos covering the pressing issues of today – underrepresented subjects such as the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, or the cultural impact of music on the youth – but they also empower people to take action themselves with their Skill-Up series.
Have you ever thought about ballet in terms of the Black Lives Matter movement, or wondered how to photograph a protest safely?
Huck’s YouTube videos will not only inspire you to go out there into the world and observe it, but also give you the skills to make a change.
Our Changing Climate
The discussion on climate change is getting – ironically – hotter and hotter. Yet, thrown into the world of seemingly infinite socio-economic inter-dependencies, it’s outstandingly difficult to come up with a solution to such a global disaster.
Since adjusting our system to this massive challenge – as activists have been trying to do for the last couple of years – has so far been rather futile, and having political influence rather than impacting the planet, we should already start thinking about an alternative.
Still, the idea won’t strike you like lightning – it takes understanding and out-of-box thinking.
The best we can do now is learn about the climate change issue. Our Changing Climate is a channel that addresses the crisis in a wide spectrum, discussing its roots and possible solutions in an overseeing and – to a certain extent – objective manner.
Our Changing Climate explains these convoluted subjects and more, in an attempt to comprehend a world facing environmental disaster.
Internet of Action
Education and activism are inextricably intertwined, and one could not exist efficiently without the other – we need knowledge to act, and we need to act to discover knowledge. YouTube, as virtually any media platform today, is an ambiguous place, barraged with endless hours of entertainment and comedy.
But if you give it a closer look, if you know what you’re looking for, you might use it to learn, get inspired, take action, and – hopefully – change the world.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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