How will you rise up and make a change?
If you look at the world today, it’s easy to get discouraged when seeing all its problems. Climate change, poverty, children who aren’t getting the education they deserve and women who are still not getting paid and treated equally to men. For years this – and so many other things – used to really upset me. I’d watch all the documentaries, join Facebook groups, watch the news and get anxiety and critique those whom I saw as the root of the problem. I thought I was doing my part by talking and complaining about it… But there is a another way to make a difference. A far better way which actually gets you real results.
Focus on what you can do
The better way is to look at what you can do, right now. Instead of critiquing others, being angry all the time and blaming the government, big companies or those people who you think are in the “wrong”, ask yourself what you can do. Because truthfully, being angry all the time and blaming others doesn’t help at all. Unless you can turn that anger into a force of good and create something meaningful, being angry doesn’t really create change. Chances are, the only people who are willing to listen to your angry message are those already agreeing with you anyway.
You can see this all over social media, where those on one side are yelling at the other side, while being praised by their peers who agree with their message. This only creates an even bigger divide among us. There is no ultimate “right” or “wrong” in most, if not all, cases. There are many different perspectives to pretty much everything going on around us. What you may perceive as “bad”, might actually contribute to someone else’s life in a good way. And when you splurge or treat yourself to something nice, this very item may actually hurt someone’s life. Life is not black and white and there is no such thing as perfection.
Use your own interests and skills to create change
So how do you go about making a difference in the world? My advice has always been by being yourself. Embrace who you are, figure out what you’re good at and how you can put those skills to good use. It doesn’t have to be much harder than that. So who are you? What are you good at? And how can this help a cause that you care about? Some ideas:
– Join the fight for equality, decent working conditions & reduce your environmental footprint by being more mindful when it comes to buying clothes and accessories. The fashion industry was responsible for 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015 and produces almost 5% of man-made CO2 emissions (1). Some things you can do as a consumer: buy less an if possible buy from sustainable brands or secondhand. Try to also choose natural materials over synthetics, which create less damage to the environment.
– Start a movement around a cause that’s truly important to you. Literally anyone can do this, thanks to the internet and widespread use of social media these days. For example, you could create an Instagram account to create awareness and to inspire others to join your cause. Or you could start a blog or YouTube channel sharing your ideas and tips on how to create change. People will always look for entertainment and information online. So why not put your social media account to good use?
– Introduce ‘Meatless Mondays’ to your diet or if you’re already vegetarian, try eating plant based at least one day a week. This will reduce your carbon footprint, will lower the demand for animal products and supports ethical companies if you decide to buy more foods from them. Livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector (yes that includes all the cars and planes in the world!) and uses 75% of the earth’s agricultural land. According to Meatless Mondays (2), if you skip one serving of beef every Monday for a year, this saves the equivalent emissions to driving 348 miles in a car. Sounds worth it to me!
– Try to create change within your community or work space. There are so many small steps you and the people around you can take that will end up having a big impact. Try to organize challenges at work around topics such as reducing waste or plastic use, eating more healthy foods or being kind to each other. Make it easy and fun so that everyone can participate! See if you can get involved in your local community – I’m sure there is an organisation or family close to you that could use your help. The benefit of this is not only are you helping your community, you’re also helping yourself – since helping others will truly make you feel good as well.
Keep standing up for the causes you believe in and help others where you can. Look at the possibilities available for creating change. Change starts with people like you and me. Don’t wait for the government or someone high up the ladder to make a change… You could be waiting a long time. It’s time to rise up ourselves and start making that change!