The world is pretty overwhelming right now. If you’re a person who has read the news of late, you don’t need me to tell you change has never been more important.
And while we can’t control everything, I believe we should all start leading change in our own backyard. Social change; systems change.
For me, leading change starts with a heightened level of self-awareness. It’s about thinking ‘what are my privileges?’ And therefore, ‘what can I change, now?’ Practicing reflection enables us to connect the past with the future, have empathy, and do all of this with a moral compass. It’s one of the traits that sets us apart from animals and basically, helps make stuff better.
After going through this process (and continuing to do it!) I’ve identified four ways I think I can have a positive impact on the world. Hopefully there’s a little something in there for you… and if you practice reflection regularly, maybe more ideas will surface too!
How to transport
We have an obsession with cars in our country (one that many other countries also share). Sad truth: cars are the major contributor to urban air pollution. I ain’t no scientist, but I reckon it’s fair to say that urban air pollution has something to do with the climate being all a bit whacky at the moment. And I can’t remember the last person that said “I love traffic”…
Find an alternative way to travel if it’s available to you. Ride a bike. Catch public transport. Walk. Car-share (wait, what? Yep, in some cities around the country you can use Car Next Door, which makes you money AND reduces your carbon footprint. Boom!)
What to buy
Given we love to consume a lot, all the time, why not do it responsibly. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Right. There has never been a better time than now to consume ethically. For example, buy your fruit and vegetables from a local market that supports local growers. Find out which clothing companies are ethical and/or by more recycled clothes. And only buy environmentally friendly other non-perishable things, like soap and dishwashing detergent.
Oh, and… Get. A. Reusable. Coffee. Cup. Stat!
Where to invest your $$$
No I’m not talking about the Wolf of Wall Street investment type. To start with, pretty much everyone who’s working in Australia is investing by default. Yep, I’m talking superannuation! I’m no financial advisor by any means, but I do think f you are getting superannuation it’s a good idea to look into which funds are ethical and find a fund that suits you, ie where they invest and what their fees are. This article really helped me out, and there are plenty out there like it for you to do research on a fund that suits your ethics and your needs. And if you have a little money left over after all of your responsible purchasing, consider donating a little bit back to an organisation doing important systems change work that is both bottom up (people-focused) and top down (policy-focussed). For me that’s the ASRC, but do your own research, cos hey, you do you yeah!
How to “spare time”
If you’ve managed to stash some leftover time in your pocket (kind of like all those bread rolls I like to save for later at catered lunches) think about a productive and meaningful way to spend some of it. The time, I mean. Don’t give up hanging out with your mates and kicking it with your fam ‘cos that is important! But also, think about volunteering somewhere that supports people who might not have it as easy as you or teaching others a skill you might have in abundance. And just generally consume good quality information, cos hey the Internet tells a lot of lies! (FYI I like to nerd out on this site).
No one is perfect, I don’t think… especially me! And yes it might be impossible to do all the things I’ve mentioned above (stuff is expensive and time is short!). But right now the world needs us to change things and every little bit counts.