ABOUT NEXT STARFISH

Next Starfish offers ideas about how to make a better world.

The world has many problems – poverty and hunger, conflict and injustice, lack of resources and environmental damage.

We believe that many people would like to do more to help tackle these issues, both at home and across the world. By encouraging and enlightening, rather than preaching, Next Starfish aims to challenge attitudes of powerlessness, apathy and indifference, and provide ideas and examples of individual actions we can take in our existing, everyday lives, and make a difference.

Our vision is for Next Starfish to help equip and inspire individuals to create positive change in their lives, social networks, organisations, communities and the world.

Our ten point ‘manifesto’ (because we like the sound of the word ‘manifesto’) -

CHANGE LIVES - commit to being the change we want to see in the world

ACT NOW - make a start today, don’t overestimate tomorrow

THERE IS ENOUGH - challenge ourselves to live more generous lives

RIGHT HERE - bloom where we’re planted - thinking global, and acting locally

TOGETHER - don’t underestimate the ability of collective passion to change the world

ENCOURAGE -  go easy on the criticism and lend a hand instead

IT’S COMPLICATED - accept that every complex problem has a solution that is clear, simple and wrong

AGREE TO DISAGREE - no-one has all the answers, debate is an opportunity to learn

HOPEFUL BUT REALISTIC - cynical pessimism & rose-tinted optimism both lead to denial & inaction

SMILE - we are generally as happy as we choose to be, enjoy life and help others enjoy theirs

 

THE CHALLENGE

There are almost 7 billion people on the planet. According to the World Bank more than a billion live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day – a figure which is locally adjusted, and so relates to local purchasing power equivalent to what $1.25 would buy in the USA. Another 2 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.

According to UNICEF there are 2.2 billion children in the world, of which 1 in 3 don’t have adequate shelter, and 1 in 5 don’t have access to safe drinking water. Across the world 22,000 children die each day from poverty – more than 70 in the five minutes it takes to read this webpage.

However there is sufficient wealth in the world to change this. The cost of providing basic health and nutrition for every person, in the world’s developing countries, is estimated to be around £13 billion a year, clean water and sanitation $9 billion, and basic education for all children $6 billion. Every year in Europe and the United States alone over $12 billion is spent of perfume and $17 billion on pet food.

But we are already living unsustainably. Our rising appetite for energy, food, water and raw materials is already causing problems and risks outstripping our current supply, and if we are to lift billions of people out of poverty across the world we will need to use even more. Clearly we need to change the way in which we do things!

WHAT CAN WE DO ?

If we are concerned about these issues, then we should of course, DO something – but what? The problems often seem so overpowering and difficult that it can be hard to believe we can have any meaningful impact, and we are all at risk of retreat into denial, self-justification or guilt and ultimately apathy and indifference.

Next Starfish aims to talk about the things we can do as individuals, from the trivial to the more profound. Most of us struggle to lead ethical and sustainable lives, and very few of us are so unselfish as to give the majority of what we have to those in more need. But there is nevertheless a huge amount we can do to make a real and positive difference, without sacrificing any significant enjoyment from our own lives. Adopting a more generous, thoughtful and connected attitude, may actually help us develop a greater sense of joy, fulfillment and happiness.