Be the change you wish to see

In our community and surroundings, there are probably several things that, coming from our own perspective, could have been better. Depending on the place we are coming from, it could for example be a lack of awareness about environmental issues, social injustice, exclusion of minorities, gender inequality, a big financial gap between rich and poor et cetera. Those are the issues that can be seen from the outside but when we get immersed in it, there is a possibility to understand in further details the reasons for its  appearance and therefore to find target points that we, as individuals can influence by doing small changes which begin from ourselves.

Why are people not reacting when they notice problems?

It is not difficult to notice the problems, they are probably in front of our eyes everyday. The real question is – if we are able to notice the problem and if so many people see it, how come that change is not happening? Why does no one take action and fix the problem?

Well, the same questions that are being presented here are probably going through the heads of many people. It seems that people are expecting someone else to solve their problems or problems in their society without getting involved in it themselves. This might come from the feeling that we are not relevant and not enough to make a change since there are so many other people out there who are either doing the thing which you are opposing or someone else is going to solve the problem sooner or later.

How are things going to change?

If we want to change something, it should primarily come from ourselves. For example, if we are aware that plastics pollution is a major environmental issue not only in the 21st century but also for the future generations we cannot expect that someone else will solve the issue. For this certain example, we can contribute in several manners: by separating waste, reduce purchasing products in plastic envelopes or organize local forums where this topic is being discussed to spread awareness about it. Those are small steps in regard to plastic pollution issues, but the same thing can be done for any issue that is bothering you.

Think about it for a little bit –  what is one small thing that you as an individual can do to begin the process of solving an issue that is bothering you?

What about politics?

The problem can often be transferred onto political systems and government. It is, of course, a valid concern because in a relatively non-functional system for a certain area it is probably tough to keep the motivation going, especially when we have countless of our own concerns to solve. But the change has to come from somewhere and if not from me, than from who? In this manner we are setting an example and if enough people start to follow a good example, the change is able to start to happen.

It does not have to be bothersome and time consuming. A small step towards the change is still a step. Every individual has his own motivation to do a certain action. It is up to us to think for ourselves in what kind of society we wish to live in and how we can create it, even if it is our own small circle of people. Do not forget – good news travel fast – that good practice could be “contagious” and spread on a wider scale. But even if not, it is important to be congruent with our beliefs. To do as we believe things should be done.

Is there someone already solving the problem?

If we have a certain issue on our mind, we are probably not the only ones thinking about it. Thus, it would be a good thing to check if there is any organization in our surroundings which is dealing with the same issue. That is the way to share our opinions with like-minded people and to approach an issue with the joint forces.

European union is providing a possibility for international exchanges and training courses where young people are able to approach certain issues from different points of view and to see how the problem is being approached abroad. It opens up a possibility to get some new ideas on how to solve a problem or improve something in their surroundings.

A challenge for you!

Think about a social issue which you have been noticing in your surroundings (e.g. environmental pollution, social injustice, humiliation of some individuals, big financial gap between rich and poor or something else). Make up your own superhero. Give him a name, nationality (it can also be made up), values and skills as well as his own difficulties and obstacles that your superhero meets on a daily basis. Your superhero should be able to solve a problem that you have selected. 

But, watch out, your superhero does not have any superpowers! Instead, he  uses his skills and values to solve the problem. 

Give yourself a space to go really creative, think about which skills values are really  important to solve a problem and then write a short story about your superhero. You can draw him instead if you prefer that way of expressing yourself.