Well, just like that 2017 is halfway through. And, as much as we’d prefer to be bright, shiny optimists, sometimes we need to call a spade a spade: It’s been a pretty crappy year so far for a lot of us. With environmental disasters and climate change debates raging, the rate of extinction for plants and animals increasing by the day, political instability around the world, refugee crises, and numerous terror attacks, it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling a little less-than-fond of the world right now.
It can all seem overwhelming and knowing what – if anything – we can do to help is hard. What difference can I really make? With problems so big, it might seem futile to even try. And, when the daily news only seems to make you feel worse, you could be forgiven for wanting to shut yourself away from it all.
But, it’s exactly at these times where we need to make the effort – no matter how small it may seem – to spread the love, peace, and tolerance in our own communities. Making a difference to those around you can lead to a pretty major impact on the greater community, not to mention on how you feel day to day. So, what can you do? Here are some of our favorite ways you can make a small, but important, difference in your community:
- Be present when it counts. Show your support for inclusiveness, be it marriage equality, anti-racism, the plight of refugees, or gender rights. Add your voice to the chorus by signing petitions and participating in peaceful demonstrations. You don’t have to shout the loudest or hold the biggest sign – simply by adding yourself to the head count will make a difference in how far the positive message is spread.
- Be active in your community. Say hello to your neighbors, especially those who may be a long way from home. Join the local council or community board, and participate in the conversations that affect the way of life where you live. Make it your goal to help promote a neighborhood that is friendly and welcoming for everyone.
- Lend a hand when you can. There are plenty of ways you can help through volunteering – even if you can only spare a few hours per month. Help serving food at your local soup kitchen, or get in touch with your local asylum or refugee centre. By donating your time you will make a valuable contribution to those who need it, and you’ll also be setting a great example to your friends and family.