How Can You, I and We Change the World..?
In a time of global uncertainty, political upheaval and over whelming negative media and information, do you ever get that feeling?
How can I change the world?
How can I change the world for the better and is there any point even trying?
The short and simple answer is YES!
Yes you can change the world and yes there is a massive point in trying. We are in the presence of an opportune moment to push for positive change. Human history proves the frequency and need for progression. Change is built into our DNA.
Change was brought about by Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movements. Change was brought about by Mahatma Gandhi and the millions of Indian people who used civil disobedience to gain their independence. Change was brought about by Mother Teresa through a life dedicated to altruism.
Albert Einstein once said “The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking” and he was right. We the people are the only mechanism for change so it must start with you, me, us!
So where do we start? It’s often the little things that we do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis that actually invoke real change. Becoming self aware of where we spend our time, energy and resource is key to giving us the ability to become part of a bigger wave of change.
One man cleaning up a mile long beach becomes a colossal force when he is joined by 10,000 other people.
1.Become Money Conscious
Money is objective. It is neither good or bad. The way we use money gives it power and subjectivity. In a consumer driven, capitalistic society, what we spend our money on drives the market and invokes change. This change can be positive or negative. So this is why it’s very important that we become conscious of where our money goes and what it changes further down the line.
For example; if every person in the world decided to solely use 100% renewable energy suppliers, businesses would need to adapt to consumer demands. The suppliers not offering 100% renewable energy would need to change or they would cease to exist. This theory of supply and demand is apparent for any product. Energy supply was just an example.
So how can we become more money conscious. Well there are some very simple things we can do to encourage positive change in the world.
Our pensions, savings and other investments go into big pots of money with other peoples. They are then managed by financial institutions. This pot of money is then invested into businesses, real estate, commodities, etc with the aim to achieve a percentage of growth.
Unless you are mindful of what your bank, investment manager or individual investment is doing with your money then you may find it doesn’t align with your own morals, beliefs and values.
Your investment may perpetuate the very actions you feel passionate about changing. HSBC has recently been caught up in an investment that saw the illegal deforestation for palm oil in Indonesia (1).
Your money may be invested into businesses with operations in weapons, oil, coal, deforestation, nuclear, defence, labour exploitation, sweat shops, child workers, animal slaughter, etc.
So what can you do about it?
Move your pension to an ethical investment fund, move you money into an ethical bank and think deeper about what your money may be used for and where it is going.
Banks such as Bristol based Triodos pride themselves on a strict ethical policy and were one of the only banks to breeze through the infamous financial crisis. There bank is growing tenfold and will shortly be offering current accounts along side a range of saving accounts they already provide.
This article by The Guardian offers some more alternatives to the normal high street banks www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/23/ethical-alternatives-co-operative-bank.
Remember that thing I said about supply and demand earlier. Well if we all moved our money from high street banks to ethical banks and investments then we would drive positive change. The banks would have to adapt to the market demands to survive. It’s simple economics really.
2. CONSUME Ethically
First things first, try to buy less stuff. Clothing is a prime example. You don’t need 20 pairs of trainers, 10 pairs of jeans and 20 dresses. Our consumer ideology has us feasting on fast fashion and instant gratification. We must consume, consume, consume. Well that’s what they want us to do and that’s what we have been brain washed to do. Why do you think businesses spend a ridiculous amount of money on marketing? They have to convince us to buy crap we don’t need. Do we really need to turn our shower on using our smart phone…?
Take a step back, re-evaluate what you need and simplify your wardrobe and your life. Your bank balance will love it and so will your soul. Minimalism is a growing trend and if you give it a go, I guarantee you will feel better for it. There is a great article for anyone interested in giving it a go at http://bemorewithless.com/begin.
We still need new clothes from time to time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Clothes shopping requires some thought and investigation though. If you don’t feel like researching every high street shop out there then buy from charity shops. However if you want to stick with brands and retail shops then the website at www.ethicalconsumer.org and www.thegoodshoppingguide.com will guide you through the process.
Food is another important aspect. I’m not here to preach about becoming vegetarian, vegan, organic, paleo, grass fed or anything else of that matter. Watch some documentaries, read some books, experiment and make sure you cover a wide spectrum of topics and sides of the argument. Make your own decision from there.
Buying local regardless of your diet is a great idea full stop. I recommend checking out your local markets as these can often be the cheapest source of many foods. If you live in Bristol then get down to St Phillips’ Market on a Sunday from 9am to 3pm.
Try to buy a few things from local, independent shops and in line with minimalism, simplify your diet for health and cost reasons. If you do eat meat, try to buy local and grass fed.
Look out for vegan, vegetarian (if that’s your thing), fair trade and ethical stamping on food products as well.
3. Go Green
One of the biggest impacts you can have on the environment is changing your energy provider or energy source to 100% renewable energy. The price to do this is becoming less and less as more and more people becoming environmentally aware and conscious. Remember that thing, it’s supply and demand again.
Bristol is at the epicenter of green energy and when it comes to providers we are spoiled with OVO Energy, Ecotricity and Bristol Energy to name a few. I only pay around an extra £5 a month on a 100% renewable tariff. That isn’t really much to help change the world. Just one less pint of beer a week!
Why not try to grow your own food.This is slightly more pie in the sky but if you start small by growing a few odd things like carrots, cucumber and tomatoes, then one day you may have the skills / time to live self sufficient.
There are plenty of resources on the internet and books to help get you started. The Guardian has a great article at www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/may/19/grow-your-own-veg-advice to get you on your way.
4. Volunteer / Give to Charity
If you have the time and drive then volunteering is very rewarding. You are essentially giving away your resource for free. You aren’t forced to do it, it’s not for money, it’s a true act of selflessness. Altruism in any form can bring about a great sense of pride, happiness and self worth for the giver.
Volunteering can be anything. You could become a mentor, offer your skills to a charity, work at a library, help garden at a community food growing project, restore bicycles to give away, serve at a soup kitchen, etc. There are no limitations.Search for volunteering in your area at www.do-it.org.
If you don’t have the time or desire to volunteer then giving to charities is another great way to support organisations working on issues close to your heart.
5. Change your Career
There’s no better feeling than getting up in the morning for a job that you feel makes a difference in the world and love doing. There is no reason why this can’t be a realistic for you either. It may not happen overnight but all you have to do is define what you want to do and then determine the steps, sub-goals, resources and time you need to get there.
Read my article on goal setting to lay some solid ground work towards your new career goal at http://beardedtravel.com/2016/12/31/10-smash-new-years-resolutions.
6. Read and Watch ThoughT Provoking MediA
Question everything. The status quo, the media, what I tell you and what you tell yourself. Watch news from a variety of sources. If you are on the left side of the political spectrum then watch news from the left, centre and right.
If you are vegan then read a book on meat eating and veganism. By trying to understand all sides of the story you will gain a better perspective. This will allow you to put yourself in the other persons shoes and try to see the world from their point of view. You cannot expect anyone to listen or acknowledge your world if you don’t do the same for theirs.
7. Gain Perspective
A fish’s whole world is its tank, unless one day, it finds the ocean. Gaining perspective is a great way to find out more about the world and the people that inhabit it. Perspective can help fight prejudice, inspire change, challenge beliefs and bridge gaps.
Perspective can be sought in many ways. Listening to others, travelling the world, changing careers, meeting new people, trying new activities and more.
8. Sign Petitions
Signing petitions is a great way to allow the organisations, people and ideas that you support gain a platform and leverage for discussion. Fortunately in the UK, we live in a democracy and petitions can put pressure on businesses to change, allow a discussion to be held in parliament and drive the initial process of change.
9. Join Organisations, Groups and Events you are Passionate about
Find out what you are passionate about and get active. If you are passionate about helping young people then contact places like The Prince’s Trust, local youth centres, mentoring schemes, sports teams, etc.
There’s a whole world of opportunity out there and it can all start with a quick ‘Google’ and a few clicks. Get started now!
10. Get Active (Politically, Environmentally, Anything)
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Like I said earlier, find out what you are passionate about and get active. Your form of activism can come in many ways and that is for you to establish.
10+.Be At Your BEst
First and foremost, you must be the change you want to see in the world. Work on yourself and you will soon realise that the more you change yourself, the more you will be able to help others.
Personal development is a great way to improve your life. Some of my previous articles such as http://beardedtravel.com/2016/12/31/10-smash-new-years-resolutions/, http://beardedtravel.com/2016/10/11/15-awesome-ways-to-beat-anxiety-stress/ and http://beardedtravel.com/2015/12/08/10-tips-to-stay-travel-fit/ can provide you a great starting point.
If your looking for the basics then eat healthy, sleep well, exercise often, surround yourself with positive people, read books by successful people, limit or remove alcohol / drugs (legal and illegal), listen to people, improve your family and social relationships, mediate, surround yourself with nature, walk, find your passion, love your job and find your definition of success and happiness.
So that’s it for today. I wish you all the best in your quest for change and please let me know if this article has helped you or if you have any other comments.