As mentioned in a previous post we all vote every time we buy something, or choose not to buy it. However it is easy to forget that we can vote with our activism as well in many ways. A combination of our purchasing choices, and what we choose to get involved with, really makes a difference to change underlying government policies or company practices. The new film by the makers of Story of Stuff explains this in their trademark simple but engaging way. This is discussed further in episodes 5 & 6 of their podcast.
Whilst at a wedding in Raglan NZ I discovered a perfect example of this, KASM, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining. A grass roots community action group set up to stop sea bed mining off the coast of this small town. The community were horrified at the idea of the mining completely changing the typography, destroying the ecosystem and creating subsurface noise (amount other things) in the waters just off the coast. They managed to get two applications for the seabed mining rejected and are continuing the fight to keep the pubic awareness raised.
Starting small is key, as this gives you practice, networks and experience. What do you feel needs changing in your immediate, building, road, borough, county? It could be reducing litter, improved lighting, better paving, more trees, community facilities or amenities. You could feel that a certain company is over packaging or not enabling their products to be recycled at end of their life (Brita water cartridge story). For example; write to that company, post on their social media, write to your MP, attend protests or events, even attend shareholder meetings.
Keep focused on your passions, what do you care about preventing, changing or keeping? Does pollution of your local waterway make your blood boil? Does the closure of NHS services make you hopping? I remember I can’t fix everything but I can can make a difference in my immediate area. With lots of people making small changes big changes happen.
Social media can be a great tool to find out what other people are doing, if anything, about the topic you are passionate about in your area. If so join forces with them. If not then set something up, those in other areas / countries are likely to be willing to advise how to get started. There are a number of online petition groups that have had highly successful years of campaigning in 2015 and perfectly demonstrate people power, see Sum of Us and 38 Degrees for all their current campaigns or to set up your own.
I am looking forward to being part of change in 2016, are you?