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Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by AK, India Jan 30, 2008
Culture , Environment , Human Rights   Opinions


The other day, a friend of mine sent me an email urging me to sign a petition to pressurize the government of some country to take action to combat global warming. As I signed the petition, I wondered what practical steps had we ourselves taken to help stop global warming. Did we, the “average Joes” have any role or was it the responsibility of the governments alone?

Most of us usually think that tackling global problems like global warming or poverty, is the job of the governments and international institutions and that there is nothing we can do to help. But the truth is that each one of us has the power to make a difference. Therefore, we must begin to take responsibility for the condition of the world around us and do whatever we can to help make a difference. We all can take small, easy actions, that can collectively lead to regional, national and even global results. It is crucial for us individuals to change first, in order for the world to change. One can’t go about blaming the “people in power” without putting his own efforts to solve the problems.

As individuals, we can educate ourselves as well as others about the pressing issues and try to follow an ethical lifestyle which sets an example for others to emulate. For example, we should try to examine our own behavior to see how we could be unknowingly supporting violence and intolerance. We could donate food or leftovers to a food bank to help meet the challenge of hunger in our community. Similarly, we could personally boycott any brands which use sweatshops and employ people in unhealthy working conditions. Or we could simply click everyday on “click-to-donate” websites as a routine. There are hundreds of ways through which we can champion a good cause.

Even though, we may not have any concrete material results to show to the world, nevertheless we should not underestimate the impact of our actions. We must remember that each word spoken, each movement and attempt is like a drop into a pool. The drop itself may disappear, but it will create ripples that will reach far beyond it could imagine. Say, on my part, I choose to use cloth bags instead of plastic ones and encourage my family and friends to do the same. In doing so, I might not have averted an environmental catastrophe, but my insignificant cloth bag at least marks the beginning of a movement big enough to make a difference.

The point is that every action counts, because if there is no action, then there will be no result. And some results are always better than having no results at all. In my opinion, people joining hands to work for community problems, can accomplish much more than some legislations and treaties which often become impossible to implement.

Also, not only in the context of global or community issues, but even in everyday life, we can bring about many positive changes that can make a world of difference. A smile, a genuine compliment, a gesture of understanding and concern or a random act of kindness can go a long way in brightening others’ and one’s own day.

I strongly believe that Mahatma Gandhi’s quote - “Be the change you want to see in the world.” - should be a lesson for all of us. Complaining or whining about a problem is not the solution. Merely being concerned about an issue, but not actually doing anything about it, is not going to help. For a better world, we all need to commit ourselves to bringing about positive changes in our own life and the immediate world around us. Before blaming anyone, we need to ask ourselves, what have we done or plan to do, for improving the situation. We ought to assess our worth by the value of our own contribution. We should not be just mute spectators to the on goings in the world around us, we need to make our existence count.

All of us want a better world, so why not take the initiative to do our bit for a worthy cause ? Let us all get over the habit of complaining and blaming. Let us shake ourselves out of indifference. Let us break the silence and take a stand. Let us “Be the Change!”



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