When was the last time you read a story about someone doing things to catalyze change (in the country or the planet), either through a social enterprise, NGO, or some other similar initiative?
My guess is, it wasn’t too long ago that you read about such a person and thought to yourself, what am I doing with my life?
You’ll read or hear all these stories about social entrepreneurs or innovators, NGO setter-uppers, “change-makers”/”game-changers” and all these other apparently Type A overachievers who are causing cataclysmic shifts in mindsets and movements. And then you’ll hear that little voice in your head asking what you’re doing with your life, and how you can make a difference yourself.
While we need those go-getters like Anna Oposa of Save Philippine Seas, and Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, who are working their behinds off to create awareness about their advocacy in marine conservation, and eco fashion respectively, we can all be catalysts of change in our own right.
So how can normal little you cause great big change?
The good news is you don’t have to set an NGO or a social enterprise to make a positive impact in the world. But you can help support some NGOs and social enterprises. They need normal people like you and me — consumers, and clout-bearers — who move about with our own lives, to help herald their advocacy. And there’s a multitude of ways to get involved depending on what works best for you or how you think you can best contribute:
- Share their story with your friends and family
You can do this through social media and face-to-face dinner conversations (less of the gossiping :P). And as Maria Ressa always says, you have the power to influence your immediate social circles, so what you say, and more importantly, what you do really matters.
- Consume more mindfully
Poke around and ask questions about how food gets to your plate, or how a product is made. It’s good to know! Having people question supply chain and production process challenges entrepreneurs to think of create better products for society and the planet!
- Attend their bazaars/workshops/events
From time to time, social entrepreneurs participate in bazaars, and this is one of the best ways to get to know the people behind the awesome products and really show your support through your purchase. Some NGOs also seek volunteers from time to time (like for Save Philippine Seas’ mural to raise awareness on local marine life) or hold fundraisers. Check out other Muni-recommended events here.
Choosing to eat less meat, or bring around a reusable bottle may not make you a hero, but choosing to a more mindful way of living is an admirable act in itself. And once you know better, it just feels better to choose the more favorable and ecological option as well.
Recognize the impact of your personal decisions. You don’t have to move mountains to create change (in fact, we highly discourage tampering with mother nature), and in your own way, just live your life as best as you can to serve as an example to friends and family. They might ask why you make certain choices, and this is your chance to gently (not forcefully) explain why you thought it was a better decision. They don’t have to make the same change in their lives right away, because at least you have planted a seed. And that seed will grow.
What are you going to do differently today?