Some questions for you to ponder…
Are you active or passive?
Are you an observer or a do-er?
Do you want change?
Do you think that change will happen if everyone merely observed?
What if more people became do-ers?
A call to action:
Empower yourself and become a do-er!
When the term ‘activist’ is used it tends to conjure up images of militant people waving banners with controversial messages, or brave people taking direct action to block what they believe to be wrongful actions. Some might even regard activists as criminals.
Vocabulary.com describes an activist as:
“ a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighbourhood library, you're an activist. Someone who's actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist.
The Dictionary.com definition of an activist is:
“an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause”.
The Permaculturenow.com website identifies three types of activism:
1. demanding solutions to contemporary problems through the taking of oppositional stances to mainstream policies e.g. protests, strikes, demonstrations etc;
2. undertaking activism which manifests itself through the creation of alternatives to the dominant system through the construction of new ways of social behaviour e.g. living in new ways, such as self-sustaining, off-grid communities; and
3. revolutionary activism that is concerned with fundamental change of society and its major institutions – this one speaks for itself – it seeks to fundamentally change the dominant system to a new way of living, rather than reforms and piecemeal changes over time.
So you see, there are different ways of being an activist and surely there is something for everyone, depending on what they believe their circumstances and personal preferences will allow.
The easiest way that everyone can take responsibility for helping to bring about change, is by using their power as a consumer.
My suggestion is that we bypass Government, since those who have been down the fabled rabbit hole will know that Government consists of puppets appointed by corporations. Instead of shouting at Government, we should deal directly with corporations by stating our demands for ethical retail and starving those who refuse to listen to us.
It is as easy as writing letters. Trust me. I’ve written lots and have had more success with writing letters as a consumer to a company than as a citizen to Government.
Our power is in our pocket.
Don’t agree with the palm oil industry? Don’t buy products with palm oil. Simples. If these products aren’t selling, the market will not be there for them. To bring about change, we have to stop feeding unethical retail practices by using our power as consumers to make conscious shopping choices. There is an app for smartphones called Buycott that you can use to scan products and see if they are against your ethical principles.
In the UK we are now charged 5p per plastic bag but what about all the other plastic packaging? How about writing to supermarkets and large retailers demanding that they surcharge other plastic packaging? This would soon lead to the demand for plastics to dwindle as people would not want to spend the extra money and think of the benefit to the environment!
The possibilities for consumers to take action like this are endless, such as writing to supermarkets demanding palm oil environmental warning labelling or surcharges on products, to discourage purchasing. Manufacturers would soon change their practices once they noticed profits declining.
The more we push for harmful products to be obviously identified, the more people will be in a position to make conscious shopping choices and over time harmful products will become the exception rather than the rule.
Become a do-er as well as an observer and help to bring about change.