10 ways you can change this world for the better
Even when short on time, cash or energy.
In the busy and over populated world we live in, it can sometimes seem like one person cannot make a difference. However, history has shown this to be untrue. From Rosa Park’s defiant stance of not moving out of her seat on the bus, to Gandhi’s consistent belief in non violent activism, one person can make a difference.
Here are a few ideas:
Educate yourself and others around you. Read about whatever subject you are passionate about. Then, share the knowledge you have picked up. Don’t just read online though. Check out newspapers and books (Amazon or other online retailers will usually suggest other books in the same genre/category when you buy from them), as well as blogs on your interests. Get totally involved and read both sides of the issue.
Be informed and thorough in your research. If you really dig something, you could even educate yourself so well that you can give a talk on it, thus spreading the word even farther. The good thing about this one is you don’t need to live anywhere special or have a lot of money to get it done. If you are broke for example, you can just borrow books from the library. If time is an issue for you, you can take it at your own pace. Basically, all you need is enthusiasm.
Volunteer. There are TONS of organisations out there that are looking for volunteers. You could do anything from staffing a helpline to clearing out cages in an animal rescue shelter. Volunteer Ireland has lots of opportunities from all sorts of charities. You could also write directly to the charities that you would like to work for. This does not require skills in writing, speaking or even fluency in English. It also does not require cash, aside from the cost of transport perhaps. Even then, many charities will pay transport costs.
Write Letters. Writing letters/emails can make a difference by drawing attention to a forgotten or neglected issue. You can write to local politicians, newspaper editors and business figures. If you can get the issue brought to the forefront of peoples’ minds, there is a chance for real progress to be made. Letting the media know is particularly important. It does not require much, aside from the cost of a stamp. As Jim Morrison famously said; “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”. So try and get out there and let the media know.
Speak out at public meetings/at hearings. This may seem pretty radical, but if you have a chance to speak at hearings/meetings, then speak up! You'll actually stand out from the crowd simply because of your age, and because it is highly unlikely you are having your say due to vested interests. Therefore, you are more likely to come across as genuine and thus be listened to. It does not require money, but does usually require time, transport and a dash of courage.
Chuck it out. Give away old/unused/unworn stuff. There is bound to be lots of stuff clogging up your closet, shelves and under-bed space. It sounds simple, but by donating your old stuff, charities can raise a good bit of cash. You can also give your stuff away at sites like Jumbletown and Free cycle Ireland. If you have no access to transport, people can come to your home (make sure you are not alone when people come to get the goods) and collect your unwanted goods, so even transport is not needed for this. It also does not require any dosh, writing skills or even speaking ability. All you need is a computer (you can use a free one in your local library) to put up an ad.
Fundraise. Anything you dream of can be an opportunity to raise some much needed cash. Ideas for fundraising include car washing, supermarket bag packing, cake sales, garage sales, talent shows, concerts and raffles. This does require some extroversion, as you will need to advertise and talk to people at the fundraising event. It also will take a bit of time to set up. It does not require much money or writing skills though.
Start a blog. You’ve heard it once if you’ve heard it a million times, but you really can make a splash and get your thoughts heard by starting a blog. You can write about anything and everything on your blog. Furthermore, if you are shy you can write under an anonymous addy. Popular free blog programmes include: blogger and word press. Good writing skills are useful for this. Where you live and how much money you have does not matter.
If you have cash to spare, give it! Kiva.org is an excellent website where you can donate as much or as little as you like in the form of a loan. These loans are used to get individual projects off the ground. For example, people who want money to set up their own small business and make a sustainable living. Global giving is another site with a similar mission. You can contribute as much or as little as you like to projects here also.
Use your mouse and click on a daily basis to sites like freerice.com, The Hunger Site and The Animal Rescue Site. These sites work on the basis that every click you make will take you a page full of advertisements and so companies see this as a good way to get their products out there. Clicking costs you NOTHING, but every click raises money or food and makes a real difference.
If you are really brave and determined, why not set up your own committee, organisation or body to get things done. It may take a momentous effort to get all the paperwork done and get the org going, but it would make a difference for sure. This one requires 'em all: time, money, energy and writing/speaking skills. Big inputs, but most likely big rewards.