‘Forward this email to your friends to promote awareness of overfishing’
‘Post this status update for 24 hours in support of HIV’
On the internet it’s easy to get lured into thinking you’re making a difference . . . but not everything we do, no matter how well intentioned, has an effect.
Forwarding an email about Fairtrade or Famine might make us feel better, but unless it leads to real action, then nothing changing the plight of the exploited or the hungry has been achieved.
Those most critical of ‘slacktivism‘ (slacker+activism) argue that it’s simply a way for us to feel better about ourselves while we just sit on our sofas surfing the internet – without making any real effort to tackle the issues, open our wallets, or ‘get our hands dirty’.
Awareness raising, countering critical opinions, sharing information, suggesting ideas and passing on encouragement ARE all important, and we CAN and SHOULD do all these things, but we must also be sure to take action to tackle problems ourselves and promote and encourage action in others.
If you do tend to spend a lot of time at your keyboard then don’t be too discouraged – it’s better than staring at the TV after all, and ’slacktivism’ in itself isn’t a bad thing – just so long as we make sure it’s not the only thing we do.
50 Simple things you can do to make a REAL difference today – however small
7 – Reuse the left-overs in your fridge, rather than throwing them out
8 – Convince your family to have a low-impact Christmas
10 – Recycle your old mobile phone – saves use of new rare earth metals
11 – Ask you boss if you can work a day a week from home – saving the commuting
13 – Make a list of things you could share, like ladders/drills etc, and circulate it to your friends & neighbours
15 – Contact your bank and ask for electronic statements rather than paper
18 – Really forgive somebody – perhaps yourself, and just ‘let it go’
20 – Phone an old friend or family member you’ve lost contact with
24 – Join a local group, club, church or other organisation and get involved in what they’re doing
28 – Commit to working towards donating 5% of your income to the poorest people in the world
29 - Buy and install draft proofing for your home
31 – Offer to cut the lawn or hedge of an elderly or infirm neighbour or friend
34 – Work at being more generous – leave bigger tips, offer more help, give more time
36 – Tell people to send you only electronic Christmas cards this year
38 – Take some old clothes or children’s toys to a charity shop
39 – Plant a tree
40 – Feed the birds over the winter, and the hedgehogs in the spring
42 – Be dirtier, seriously, we tend to over-wash ourselves, our cars and our clothes – use less water
43 – Spend 5 minutes chatting with your neighbours over the garden fence
44 – Plant or plan a butterfly garden
45 – Start building or planning a vegetable garden – give some of what you grow away
47 – Invite your neighbours, or someone else you don’t know too well round for dinner
49 – Commit to being a better friend – think about who can you help today ?
50 – Promote this, and similar ‘calls to action’ through your social media – and tell people which ones you’ve done, that’s the challenge
I’ll be posting a summary of what I’ve personally achieved (and not !) in the last year shortly.
Photo by koalazymonkey via Flickr