“I WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD”
Sure, but how?
We are the generation of frustrated idealists
We know that things are bad, that we have killing factories for chickens, that fake news is dominating the world, that somewhere, nuclear weapons are being built, and that racists and outright neo-Nazis are on the rise again. It’s up to us, so we tell each other; it’s up to our generation to make a difference. Whenever we read about a problem, we want to make a change. But change often seem so hard to achieve that we become paralysed. There's really only one thing we keep asking: "Sure… but how!?"
- This blog is meant to answer that question with real-world examples and advice.
- We want to fill the obvious 'gap' left open for frustrated idealists like us.
By interviewing smarter people, reading difficult books and experimenting throughout life, we desperately try to find out if, and how, it is possible for any one person to make a difference and change the world for the better - even without money or political power.
The ultimate goal is to transform ourselves from confused, passive people, panicking on the sidelines, into active change-makers.
Why? It feels so much better to do something than to sit about worrying. We'd all like to wear a superhero's cape once in a while, so that we might start fighting some villains and saving some damsels (f/m/x) in distress (or some starving ocean species, for that matter). No one is born a superhero, however. It takes a lot of effort and training to reach even the first level of superheroism. But in the end, it’s better to fail forward than to never have tried at all.
So you want to join our epic quest? And you want to try to make a difference? Well, sure.. But how?! We set up a number of ground rules to get started.
The Ten Commandments of Difference
1. FIND YOUR MATCH.
There is already a staggering amount of organisations out there, making a difference. Instead if re-inventing the wheel, why not join one of them? Due to the sheer amount of organisations, making the right choice can seem like a daunting task. In order to help you out a bit, we have made a Sustainability Compass. The compass helps you find the organisations (and their corresponding actions) that fit your preferences the most. It filters from a list of more than 300 Dutch organisations that are all in some way involved with ecological & social sustainability and climate change.
2. I CAN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
One of the first things we learned during our attempts is that it’s insanely difficult to change something by yourself. It’s way easier when you’re in a group of other heroes. Coordinated groups such as Black Lives Matter or 350.org have real impact - building a windmill in your own backyard is unlikely to have a lasting effect.
DIRECT ACTION: If you want to join an international movement, here are some tips:
- Save the environment: 350.org
- Fight industrial agriculture & soil depletion: https://www.slowfood.com/
- Save refugees: https://helprefugees.org.uk/
- Join a political party (this sounds like a big step, but it’s quite easy - we’ll try it for you)
3. EVERY STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION HELPS.
Even by doing small things, you transform your passivity into activity, even though these actions won’t make a huge difference right away. One small project might be the start of something bigger (and it eventually should be). If that sounds confusing, we recommend reading the Bill McKibben intro. If it doesn't - there's more than enough ways to get started.
- Plant trees with a search engine: Ecosia
- Start carsharing on Blablacar + Gomore
- Go vegetarian/vegan
- Be kind to others (you'll be nicer to the planet, too)
4. YOUR MONEY IS YOUR POWER.
You vote everyday by using your money. Certain flows of money directly support certain systems, and you have the power to revoke your support. When you buy a burger at McDonald's, you’re directly supporting the fast food industry, global warming and animal suffering. If you spend your money on fair trade, organic produce, preferably from a local grocery shop, you stand a good chance of promoting sustainable farming and supporting the real economy, and you won't be causing animal suffering and pollution. Monitor where your money goes, and see where you can make the most effective changes.
- Transfer to a sustainable bank
- Divest your money from the oil, meat, industrial agriculture, war and other 'bad guy' industries
- Buy as little as possible new; if you can still use that old thing, make do with it
- Consider not taking airplanes anymore (hitchhiking is a superhero skill - and does that vacation really need to be in Thailand, anyway?)
5. IT'S BETTER TO FAIL FORWARD THAN TO NEVER HAVE TRIED.
Taking on a task that seems impossible, even succeeding at one little step will feel like victory. Even if you never reach your end goal, you'll learn infinitely more - and different - things than by just theorizing what it would be like to help. Try it out - it's addictive!
6. PICK YOUR BATTLES.
You can't do everything, but you can make a huge impact on one or two things. Don't try to save the refugees, fight climate change *and* guard our privacy at the same time. Pick a battle and focus on one thing; you'll be more knowledgeable and effective.
7. SEE HOW OTHERS HAVE DONE IT.
You are not the only hero in this fight. Plenty of people desperately wanting to make a difference walk the Earth today, and plenty have walked it before. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; just see how others have done it. Read history and biographies, find longreads about effective changes, and read every single article on Surebuthow, of course!
8. WE HAVEN’T FOUND #8, 9, 10 YET.
Suggestions? Email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org