With the rise of social media, we are able to understand what is going on, anywhere in the world in an instant. As soon as a disaster happens, our phones alert us, adding to the pile of things we already care about. Social issues affect all of us, but it can be stressful to think about all of them at once. Sometimes we feel like changing our profile photo to blue or sharing a link isn’t helping enough and thus, the existential dread continues. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the current state of our world, this post is for you.
We often feel like we need to see a grand, sweeping change to make a difference when in reality, change starts right with yourself.
Here are some small steps you can take that can make a huge difference in the right direction.
Abortion Access/Reproductive Justice
- Educate yourself and learn to use inclusive language when describing issues related to reproductive justice
- Become a clinic escort, and volunteer your time ensuring patients arrive at their appointments safely and comfortably
- Push for comprehensive sexual education, or learn some basics and volunteer to teach your community
- Contact your representatives to ensure that everyone has access to safe, reproductive healthcare
- Volunteer at your local shelter on holidays like Independence Day or New Year’s Eve to hold animals that may be startled by fireworks
- Volunteer and walk and socialize adoptable animals
- If you can, foster a pet
Climate Change/Environmental Issues
- Reduce your use of plastic by:
- Invest in reusable tote bags, cups, and plasticware (shop this post)
- Instead of pushing for straw bans that negatively affect disabled folx, bring your own reusable straw and refuse them when offered
- Reuse items or get them fixed when they’re broken instead of purchasing new ones
- Conserve water by taking shorter showers, purchasing a water filter, and even turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or wash your face
- Volunteer at your local shelter or soup kitchen
- Create kits of toiletries, snacks, and supplies to give to homeless people you may pass on the streets
- Give a stranger some water this summer
- Donate money to an organization fighting homelessness
- Educate yourself on the causes and warning signs of human trafficking so you are a better advocate in the future (it looks a lot different than the movie Taken)
- Traveling this summer? Take a photo of your hotel room and post it to this site to assist those help track down traffickers
- Donate to and volunteer with local organizations
Immigration/The Global Refugee Crisis
- Donate your gently used clothes to a local shelter
- Volunteer to assist refugees in your area with English lessons, bus routes or simply help a family move in!
- Educate yourself and others on immigration law, and understand that although there is “improper” or “undocumented” entry, as well as seeking asylum, there is no such thing as “illegal” immigration
This is just one small start in the right direction. There are hundreds of thousands of causes to care about, I decided to narrow it down to these six as I too felt overwhelmed coming up with a list of problems I wanted to solve. Most of these solutions are free or relatively cheap, and easy to do in your spare time! If you’re already a pro, consider examining your personal privileges and consider ways you can leverage your privileged identities to assist others!
Also published on Medium.