If you have read my other post, you will already know that I am searching for an antidote to The News, the anxiety inducing headlines splashed across our screens and newspapers. And in that post I concluded that we can make a better world. After all, from little things big things grow (borrowing the words of Paul Kelly). We all can create moments in our everyday life that will build up to make a movement. A better world is possible if we all turn our efforts towards small acts of change.
From Google, I have collected a list of actions or moments we can all create in our lives. Some are easier to do than others. Yet, even as I write this I still wonder if anything I do will make any difference. If others check out, why should I bother? Will the energy put in be wasted? Will I feel more let down by humanity than before? Are people worth it?
And do you know what. I think that some people really aren’t worth the effort. But some people are, even if I haven’t met them. A better world is worth the struggle simply because I want to see it and so do you. So, here goes:
When walking around the shops it is hard to know if what we are buying is sourced ethically, but we can look out for labels known to share our values. We should do this because we all understand how hard work is for us, and can imagine how much worse it is for others. If all I can do is support companies that don’t take advantage of people it’s the least I can do.
This one takes a bit of research, like anything, to find an organisation that you can provide value rather than just “doing time”. For anyone like me it is also an intimidating prospect because it means interacting with new people out of my comfort zone. Nevertheless, while writing this article I’ve signed up for a Christmas Charity in my city and continue googling for something more ongoing.
We can all be heroes and save lives even if our day job is pushing paper. There are stringent rules though, and I’ve been denied a few times because my friends keep marrying in countries on the Red Cross ‘caution list’. Persevere and call them again when you are eligible to donate.
Donate used clothing
I accomplished this only on the weekend and definitely feel lighter because of it. But mostly because my floordrobe has gone. This was not altruistically motivated, but hopefully someone in the community will still benefit.
Small acts of kindness
This is one of the best things you can do. Basically, it is about letting the people in your life know that you care about them, whether it is picking them up a coffee on your way in to the office or saying ‘thank you’ for sharing their time with you. Out in the world, it is smiling at the cashier even when you just want them to hurry up. We can all do this. Plus it creates goodwill where people want to help you with stuff.
There are quite a few websites calling for people to be vegetarian or at least give up meat for a day/week/month in the interests of the planet and animal welfare. I am conflicted because I do like animals and I do like meat. Personally, I have never thought of changing the world this way but perhaps I need to review. When it comes to diet, two birds, one stone…
Totally my favourite! Pass along a book you have read and enjoyed to someone who will appreciate it. In inner-city Melbourne, mini street libraries have popped-up all over the place. Neighbours and commuters collect books and replace them and drop off their old ones to create fun, sweet, literary communities.
Connect like minds
Go ahead and introduce people that can help each other. Other people have done this for me and I have made quite a few treasured friends this way. It has been the best.
Teach someone a skill
You have knowledge that can enable someone else, whether as a necessity life skill or loved hobby. For example, teach someone the basics of Excel, basket weaving, replacing oil & water in the car….
Recognize the humanity of other people, and respect their dignity
This is hard. It means making eye contact and nodding when you pass a homeless person in the street, or that person in the office you have grown to hate. We can at the very least respect that we are each human beings, and we have that in common.
Start a social choir for people that can’t sing! My nine year old self is totally into this. She was rejected from the primary school choir three years running. These days singing loudly in the car is one of my greatest joys. In a choir we can bond over how bad/funny we are, or actually get really good. Also, I’ve known some women in a choir run by the local council. They loved it, especially performing at schools and fetes.
Compliment someone, Be open, Drive less, Use Less paper
The list of moments we can create towards a better world are infinite. One writer called Samantha Hodder has known she wanted to pursue an altruistic path since she was a child. “Getting over peoples criticism can be hard,” Samantha said. “As time went on, people around me began to criticize less, and many friends and family members decided to try some of the things I was advocating.” She is now a woman creating a lot of meaningful moments. We can create moments. We can start a movement. Let’s make a revolution.