Kids climbing in Peak District.
The problems of the world are so huge, so overwhelming. What can we do? What can I do?
I can't change international policies or influence global politics (at the moment anyway). I can't dictate what the national government should do. I can't march up to an environmentally and socially unethical conglomerate and demand that they turn to more ethical alternatives.
But I can tell my friends (read: Facebook spam) about issues. I can encourage them to start taking small steps towards a more sustainable and ethical living. By spreading the word and awareness, and putting it at the forefront of my friends' minds, I can, hopefully, make a little positive impact in this world.
I've attended multiple talks, read many articles about what needs to be done and what we can do. While I wouldn't say I'm an expert on anything already, just from my limited experiences, I do see some common themes emerging time and again.
And I think, ultimately, it boils down to a few things:
Global problems are alarming. They intimidate and put off people. And there's no personal stake in it. So what if the world burns? As long as the fire doesn't reach me in my little bubble, it's fine. Once you start realising that there are little wildfires near you as well, you would probably be more inclined to take action. Whether it's prevention, like banning people from dropping lit cigarettes on the ground or banning fire crackers, or mitigation, like trying to fire-proof your belongings and learning how to fire-fight, or adaptation, like getting insurance so just in case your house does burn down, you still have something left to start your life over again. You will want to do something, I'm sure.
It's no use what continually talking about problems and issues and not giving people any place to direct their energy. People could feel outraged over something they read. But if there's no place to channel that fury, then it'll just die down and be forgotten.
There are so many things we can do.
By the choices you make: What you are eating. Where you are buying your clothes/food. Where is your money going to (investments). How you travel.
By the things you say: Whether in daily face-to-face conversations, on social media, or on your blog.
By the actions you take: Do you practise what you preach?
And while you and I can't do anything about national or international politics, politics ultimately reflect the people's sentiment (or they should anyway). If more people started caring about the environment, about social justice, about the future that they want, I'm sure the people up there will notice and do something about it. Ideally.
Image from: http://nonsensethoughts.com/post/35630237857
Linked to the above point, there's no use being all doom and gloom and being pessimistic and jaded and cynical over anything and everything. Yes, there are problems, we need to acknowledge that. But we also need to stay positive, upbeat and hopeful. We need to have the faith that things can and will change for the better, if we all do something about it. Otherwise, what's the point in life?
And when we're trying to spread the word and share the love, what matters is having a story, an engaging narrative. Also, to draw the connection between the outcome we want (for environmental reasons) and other aspects of life. Like economics and humanity and various other stuff. Ultimately, it's putting across the right message to suit the right audience, and I believe that what most people in this world want are the same anyway.
A cleaner world, a safer world, a more equitable world, a more sustainable world. Not a world of suffering, whether from social injustice or environmental degradation/destruction or climate change impacts.
I'm not anybody special, not anybody famous, not anybody well-known. But I do believe that doing what I do, taking little steps at a time, I can (eventually) make a difference in this big, vast but infinitely amazing planet we call home. And I believe we all can as well.
Don't end up like this:
Image from: http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/keywords/graves