Impactfully No. 94: K-Pop Coalition

K-pop fans are putting their weight behind social causes and petitioning major corporations to reduce their impact on the environment, plus Illinois seeks to consolidate oversight of child care and early childhood education to improve outcomes.

Impactfully No. 94: K-Pop Coalition
Photo by Abigail Lynn / Unsplash

We all know the power of music to bring us together – chances are you've gone to a concert that was a peak moment in your life. But what does music have to do with social impact?

A lot apparently: artists and their fans are using their influence to make a difference. I can name a few bands that embrace environmental impact in particular, but it's a fan-led group that caught my eye this week for its influence on a major automobile manufacturer.

For your job search, I'd encourage you to check out the companies – not just the roles – in this week's list. Many of them have a variety of roles on offer, so you might find one that fits if you dig a bit deeper.

~ Greg

What we're reading

Korean pop culture is using its significant influence to notch wins in the climate movement. (Fast Company)

  • Apparently this kind of organizing isn't new. K-pop activism dates back to the 1960s, and fans have a history of coming together to support causes through volunteering and philanthropy.
  • Recently, a group called Kpop4Planet partnered with civic groups focused on eliminating coal energy in South Korea. They successfully lobbied Hyundai to prevent a planned coal power plant deal in Indonesia.
    • This is impressive by any stretch, but the group has only been around since 2021. You've probably heard of BTS, arguably the biggest K-pop group to get name recognition in the U.S., and Kpop4Planet was able to leverage the relationship between BTS and Hyundai to great effect here.
    • The group is now focused on reducing waste. Some artists release multiple versions of the same album in the hopes that people will collect them all for a chance to meet band members.
  • I'm sure there are other fandoms using their influence to make a difference. If you know of any, shoot me a message – I may include them in a future newsletter.

Illinois is on the cusp of creating a Department of Early Childhood after the associated bill passed in both the House and Senate. (Chalkbeat)

  • It's an effort to consolidate day care and early childhood services under one department instead of the three that support it today. Doing so is supposed to improve access to services and streamline their management.
  • The latter is particularly important. The reason this story caught my eye is because there's a background check issue for day care centers around the country with serious consequences, like children dying under care.
    • States get funding through the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help subsidize services for low-income families and improve safety. In order to access those funds, states must put rigorous background checks in place to prevent the wrong people from getting hired at child care centers.
    • The grant was reauthorized in 2014, and states had until 2018 to become compliant with the new rules. Seems like a reasonable period of time to me – I'm sure some stakeholders had hoped for a faster turnaround. But as of 2022, more than half of states failed to meet at least one of the requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
  • To be clear, The Department of Early Childhood in Illinois may not address all of the complexities of the current situation, but simplifying oversight ought to improve oversight and the lives of children on which it depends.

Job of the week

If you want to make a difference at the intersection of art, technology, and user experience, look no further than this week's featured role at Threespot, a digital strategy agency B Corp with 25 years of experience supporting social impact.

They're looking for a UX Strategist who will work with their clients to design digital experiences that make a difference. You might be building prototypes, working in content management systems, and developing design systems – you know, the bread and butter of user experience. Best of all, you get to work with other companies doing their best to make the world a better place, and you get to do so remotely. Flexibility and impact? Sign me up.

Community roundup

  • Microsoft set a goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030, but as AI investments increase their carbon footprint, Microsoft's emissions have increased by 30% according to its latest sustainability report. (The Verge)
  • A new study of the Great Lakes has found PFAS – the "forever chemicals" I discussed in Impactfully No. 89 – not just in the lakes themselves but in the surrounding atmosphere. Precipitation, it turns out, is contributing to pollution of the Great Lakes. (The Guardian)
  • The United Nations has launched a project called Seeds in Space which purports to do exactly what you think it does – launching seeds into space. The seeds are subjected to the unique atmospheric conditions of space – think radiation, extreme temperatures, and microgravity – and the goal is to learn about ways to make crops more resilient in the face of climate change. (Grist)
  • Florida has enacted a new bill that removes climate change language from the state's energy policy and prevents offshore wind turbines. (Axios)
    • According to Axios, it's largely symbolic. Weather conditions make wind turbines prohibitive – hurricanes anyone? – and lawmakers can still take climate change into account. I'm just reminded of the recent revelation that Florida hadn't developed a climate action plan for federal funding.
  • Overdoses dropped for the first time in five years, with fentanyl overdoses decreasing and meth and cocaine overdoses increasing. Though a promising development, the number of overdoses remains very high and continues to grow in areas like the Pacific Northwest. (NYT)
  • The Brown v. Board of Education ruling celebrated its 70th anniversary recently. As a reminder, that ruling eliminated legalized racial discrimination in schools, however, segregation in schools is rising in recent years. (Axios)
    • The UCLA research cited in the article notes that the average school is becoming more multiracial, however, people of color tend to go to schools whose nonwhite population far exceeds the average. Historically, that means those schools have fewer resources at their disposal – and the number of schools that are "intensely segregated" has tripled over the past 30 years.

Hot job opportunities

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Looking for a job? Submit your resume to our talent pool, and let social impact companies come to you.

Resource of the week

A few weeks back, I shared a link to the American Climate Corps, a new job board hosted by the U.S. Government to help get people into early career climate action opportunities. But what if you're looking for something long-term?

In that case, I'd recommend checking out, which not only has a job board but additional resources for switching to a climate career. Check it out if you're just exploring a climate career or ready to make the leap – you'll find opportunities in a bunch of different verticals and something bound to pique your interest.

Test your knowledge

Did you dig into deforestation last week? You might be surprised to find that the annual rate of deforestation has actually decreased. The deforestation rate is highest in Africa these days, though South America is still a hotspot with Brazil having the most negative impact.

I love a good current events question, and our question this week involves the National Park System:

A visitor to a National Park got their vehicle stuck in mud and tried to use an old salt tram tower to get it back out, toppling the tower in the process. The tower was 113 years old and part of a system used to transport salt over the nearby mountains, though it was retired in 1930. In what National Park did this take place?

Email me your guess, and I'll send one lucky winner a couple of One Work stickers!

I'm still processing all of the AI announcements from the past week from Open AI, Google, and Microsoft, and I'm starting to wonder if it's time for an ethics check. You can find me on LinkedIn and Threads.

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Jamie Larson