Last September saw hundreds of thousands of people around the world take action to address climate change via the People’s Climate March, including more than 300,000 people marching in New York City. The last couple of years have seen a resurgence of collective action, from #BlackLivesMatter to #ShellNo to the Unist’ot’en Camp in western Canada, more people are choosing to step up and make a positive difference for people, animals, and the earth.
As Joan Baez said, “Action is the antidote to despair.” We asked some of the leading figures in social change to share their personal tips for taking positive, practical action. Here’s what they shared.
“Come from kindness. With all the problems in our world, it is tempting for our activism to come from a place of anger. This is a recipe for unhappiness, burnout, and ineffectiveness.
Try processing your emotions through journaling and personal growth work so you don’t take them out on the people you are trying to inspire. Instead of nagging friends who aren’t interested, focus on effective mass outreach, like leafleting or letter-writing, or working to create institutional changes in your school or community. We are making huge progress! Give your fullest effort while accepting that change takes time.”
“Focus on what issues you are most passionate about, and take even a small and simple action. You don’t necessarily have to go out and change the world with big drama, although that can be fun. Small, but consistent changes in our personal behavior can make a difference. At the Green Divas, we believe safe, clean water should be a human right. 750 million people lack access to clean safe water, and it’s a serious global issue that’s not limited to developing countries. Contamination from fracking or oil/mining spills; pumping water for bottled water; irrigation lawsuits; drought shaming; and more occur right here in the U.S. We take action by sharing information about these issues and the organizations working to solve them (like Water.org) on our podcast Green Divas Radio.”
How to Organize a New Educational Alternative in Your Community
1. Research the school laws and homeschool laws in your state.
2. Organize a meeting though social media to discuss creating new alternatives in your community.
3. Find out the needs of the community and commonalities as presented in the meeting.
4. Stay in touch with the Alternative Education Resource Organization for help in creating new alternatives.
“Being an activist is one of the best decisions you can make. Do not allow anyone to drain your enthusiasm for making a difference. Make sure that your actions are geared toward making a change and to not just feel like you are “doing something.” No social justice movement is the same, but study them and their tactics. Connect with others. You are never alone, and there are so many to help you on your path as an activist.”
“My advice for activists is simple. Learn everything prior to participating in a campaign. There are two sides to every story. Verify all facts. Know who is involved. Follow the money trail. If someone simply hops on the bandwagon, more damage can be done than good. Secondly, always maintain your integrity. Regardless of how financially desperate you or your group may be, do not sell out. Thirdly, keep your ego in check. All efforts should be focused on the cause not for personal gain or to benefit one organization over another. Work together with others if you truly want change.”
Find June Stoyer at:
Twitter: @JuneStoyer @TheOrganicView @CleanEnergyView
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Step 1 Get educated on the issue you are concerned about
Media sites like DemocracyNow.org have vast amounts of information on them and you can search by topic.
Step 2 Find others concerned about your issue
One way is to connect with a group that works on the issue. We, The World has many Partners and Allies working within 11 Themes for Change. Volunteering for one of them (or for We, The World) could connect you with others you can work with.
Step 3 Decide what kind of action you’d like to take – Conference, Flash Mob, Candlelight Vigil?
It depends on what effect you want to have on the people who participate. We, The World divides this into Inspire, Inform and Involve. Our most successful programs include all three!
Step 4 Promote your program
Many media outlets have free Community Calendars. We, The World offers our Global Unity Calendar. Also, get Co-Sponsor groups who will help promote your program.
Step 5 Take Action!
Now you’re all set. Have a great event and thank you for helping to create a better world!