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A few years ago there was a great post on the Amnesty International website written by Jessie Mawson, called 10 ways you can change the world today. The 10 things were easy and common sense and I remember thinking that we really do forget how easy it is to change the world. I am recycling Jessies list here, so we can remind ourselves and start ticking them off.
I think we tend to think about people who done BIG things when we think about people who have inspired change. For me, it’s an endless list of the good and great who I stand in awe of and wonder how they inspired such significant change; Emmeline Pankhust, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and I can go on and on and I bet you can too. The problem with that, and as inspiring as those people have been, it can also leave us feeling that we couldn’t possibly inspire change in the same way.
Sadly, the small things that make a big difference, can just get forgotten or we don’t prioritise them because we don’t believe we can change the world. A few years ago there was a great post on the Amnesty International website written by Jessie Mawson, called 10 ways you can change the world today.
The 10 things were easy and common sense and I remember thinking that we really do forget how easy it is to change the world. I am recycling Jessies list here, so we can remind ourselves and start ticking them off. As Jessie puts in her blog, “this may not get us remembered as a human rights hero like Mandela or Malala – but I reckon it’s stuff like this that really changes the world” and I agree with her.
1. Spend your money wisely
This is a huge world changer. We make other people rich every day with our money. If we don’t like what they do with it, stop giving it to them. It really is that easy. You need to start by understanding where your money does go. Use the interwebz for good (point 6) and do a little research. Is your money helping to feed and educate a family or is it supporting modern slavery, it really is your choice.
2. Know who is looking after your money and what they are doing with it
When we are lucky enough to have money to save or invest, this money is used by others to do things we often don’t know about. Find out. If it’s too hard to find out, just find a bank, pension or investor that tells you straight that they are doing the right thing.
3. Give a percentage of your money away to charity every year
The practice of giving to those not as fortunate as you was something I grew up with, and it was associated with gratitude. To let others share in your good fortune gives you an amazing sense of balance. When it comes to money, we do seem to be in a pyramid, there are always people who have more or less, until you are the richest (we have lists for this) or poorest (no lists for this). Personally I don’t give a percentage to just one charity, I like to give when I see something I want to help with or a person who just looks like they need it. Whatever you choose, you will get as much as you give.
4. Give blood and your organs when you are done with them of course!
Is there a bigger gift you can give someone? The ultimate reuse – recycle. You are literally saving someone’s life. You may not be on a list for changing the world, but you will be on someone’s list for changing their world.
5. Avoid that new landfill feeling
This is my current focus. I can’t pick anything up now without thinking about if I’m going to put something straight into landfill. Waste that gets buried, is there anything more disgusting? Personally, I think that if you can’t reuse it or recycle it (really recycle it) you shouldn’t be able to make it. It’s taken me a while to swap things out, and sometimes, it just has to go in the bin, but that act should make us really uncomfortable that we look to avoid it where possible.
6. Use the interwebz for good
Every point that you tick off here the interwebz can make you life easier. Find sustainable producers and shops for your goodies. Which are the best places to store your dosh. How to support the cause you want to give your money to. How to give blood and make sure you family know you want to donate your organs. What can be recycled and reused and what can’t…there is nothing we can’t find out how to do – no excuses!
The health benefits associated with giving can include; lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, longer life, greater happiness and satisfaction, and if that wasn't enough, you can volunteer for some truly ACE things. Why wouldn’t you?
Don’t know where to start? Point 6!
8. Write a letter to your member of parliament
I’ve got to confess I struggled with this one – yawn – what is that going to do? Unbelievably our antiquated political system means that our MP’s actually do take notice when you write to them. Worse, in a way, they wait to see how many people do write to them before they decide if people are happy or sad with something they have done, so if you don’t, others will, and you may not get the outcome you thought was obvious.
9. Love food, hate waste and recycle
Easy, easy, easy. How much money are you wasting on food you don’t use? This one is unforgiveable. Don’t buy as much, stick stuff in the freezer or give it away while you still can. If you are at the shops and see stuff that is reduced because it’s close to its date, think about what you can do with it. Just because you don’t throw it away doesn’t mean food isn’t wasted. Get creative and save money.
10. Stand up to everyday injustice
Don’t just think something is wrong, say it. Don’t watch people being abused, stop it. Most days we see and hear things that we know aren’t ok, don’t laugh it off or walk away in silence, stand up to the injustice and inspire change.
this may not get us remembered as a human rights hero like Mandela or Malala – but I reckon it’s stuff like this that really changes the world
Let me know how many you do and how it's making you feel.
Nina changes the tough stuff necessary to keep leaders’ visions and strategies alive and prosperous, planet and people engaged, healthy, smiling and having fun. Coach, Consultant & Trainer. Contact her when you are ready to make your contribution to changing the world at ninadar.com the first session is free.
If you would like to read Jessies blog you can find it here