Recent political developments have left us all a little puzzled I think. With less or even a lack of leadership comes greater responsibility for everyone (unless we want to retreat into our own world that is). As we have seen recently in regards to plastics following the huge attention Blue Planet 2 received, we as individuals can change things. We don’t need government to point out what is the right thing to do, we should know this ourselves. And yes, we may need to become a little more organised. This however should be possible with social media.
Is it now a great time for community activism or any form of peaceful environmental activism? What if we can galvanise enough momentum so that policymakers have to listen? What if we can create enough momentum to start the discourse on environmental topics without politicians advocating it?
Lack of leadership will bring more responsibility for us all and will put more onus on a civil society, but isn’t that what democracy ultimately is about? Have we become a little complacent in expecting others to make decisions on what is right? Should we take more ownership ourselves?
I don’t need a government to decide that supermarkets shouldn’t use as much single use plastic for packaging foods as they do or legislate for plastic free aisles. I also don’t need supermarkets to make such a decision for me, tapping into current trends etc (although this would obviously have a positive effect too). What I do need to do is to get my own bum off the couch, not follow what everybody else is doing but instead lead by example. (I’m not affiliated to any party or organisation by the way).
What is it that we can do?
There is the subtle form of community activism, which is to make our own decisions and choices, without others being affected. For example we can stop buying in supermarkets where food is wrapped in plastic unnecessarily. Or we can start cycling to work instead of driving or take up guerrilla gardening . This will work of course, but only if there are sufficient numbers of people doing it. It’s voting with one’s feet at its best while at the same time subtly leading by example. Logically the first step and luckily not too difficult either.
If we stay with the example of plastic: The next step could be to return plastic packaging or to leave it in the supermarket in the first place. Or we can lobby for less plastic, more green spaces or whatever the topic may be. This could be amongst our friends, sports community, in work, or maybe on social media. This may also simply mean to raise our voice or to speak out about an issue that matters to us.
Does community activism make us happier?
I really do believe that taking ownership of issues that matter to us will have a positive impact – not just on the environment in the long run for example, but also on ourselves by making us ultimately happier.
If we are less passive but actively contribute to change, it will give us a sense of achievement, of satisfaction. Looking for ideas how to get involved? Community groups or sites such as Changex can help inspire us.
…and by the way: This doesn’t just work for environmental topics but for other community topics also! So what are we waiting for?