How can you be the change you want to see in the world? Mahatma Gandhi’s quote has inspired millions to have a positive impact on their community, but how can you be challenged to start making a difference right now?
Throughout history, we have successfully overcome many difficult threats and turmoil, including famine, war, natural catastrophes, social injustice, racism, and many others. But this question still occurs to every person.
How can you contribute to making the world a better place? How can you be the change you want to see in the world?
What Are the Main Issues the World Faces Today?
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017, millennials have listed these top 10 global issues as most serious:
- Lack of economic opportunity and employment (12.1%),
- Safety / security / well-being (14.1%),
- Lack of education (15.9%),
- Food and water security (18.2%),
- Government accountability and transparency / corruption (22.7%),
- Religious conflicts (23.9%),
- Poverty (29.2%),
- Inequality (income, discrimination) (30.8%),
- Large scale conflict / wars (38.9%),
- Climate change / destruction of nature (48.8%).
How to Be the Change You Want to See in the World: Thoughts On The Top Five Issues
Among these challenging global topics, the top five remain the most worrying.
Climate change is a reality that many countries are already witnessing. Wars have recently forced millions of refugees to relocate. This has caused refugee camps to be overpopulated and have terribly poor living conditions.
Inequality and social injustice exists in nearly every country all over the globe. While the causes may differ. Whether this is race, gender, class, or sexual orientation, the results are almost the same. Meanwhile poverty and religious conflicts usually go hand in hand.
Be the Good You Wish to See in the World
Let’s take a look at some of the most pressing issues in the world today, and what you can do to play your part.
Climate change came in the first place for several good reasons.
The evidence for how rapid these changes have become is undeniable. The planet’s average temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century. 2016 has been the warmest year on record.
In addition, shrinking ice sheets and glacial retreat are also two traceable phenomena. Sea level rise and ocean acidification are alarming consequences of ice melting and water pollution.
If You Want Change, Be the Change
Fortunately, climate change is one of the issues where the individual behavior can have a huge impact. If you want change, you can easily be the change.
Reducing the emission of Carbon Dioxide by using more Eco-friendly products and cars can make a big difference. Relying on renewable energy resources instead of fossil fuel is a global approach that many countries are committed to.
In addition, one of the major causes of water pollution is plastic waste being dumped in the oceans. Humans purchase over a million plastic bottles per minute! It affects all marine lifeforms and it is estimated that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish. A simple habit of replacing plastic bottles with reusable ones can save our oceans.
Currently, there are four conflicts which have caused more than 10,000 deaths last year. This high death toll has affected all the inhabitants in the affected areas. According to the UNHCR, “in 2015 the number of refugees and asylum seekers have exceeded sixty-five million.
More than half of which are children. Each minute, 24 people flee their home because of violence or persecution.” The number is grave and is higher than it has ever been.
Be the Change You Want to See in the World
Volunteers and non-governmental organisations have played a role to improve the situation. We’ll highlight how you can volunteer and become part of NGOs.
On the other hand, if volunteering is not an option, donations and fund-raising can be of great help to those suffering.
Whether in schools, communities, or the workplace, every dollar matters to the lives of those hanging between borders with no hope of returning home soon.
A marathon, a swim, or a concert can be used to raise awareness and collect donations. Official online websites, such as the UNHCR, are good options to facilitate donating and also ensure that your money is going to the right place.
Social inequality is the unfair distribution of goods and burdens in society. Goods include income, education, or employment, while burdens entail substance abuse, criminality, unemployment, and marginalization.
People still worry about racial and gender discrimination and pay gaps, even in societies known to be highly developed. Millennials are concerned about the growing gap between the rich and the poor which has reached its highest peak today.
In addition, racial and gender discrimination still represent a threat to many all over the world.
Clearly, poverty is one of the consequences of inequality. One look at the numbers will shock most people.
Furthermore, almost half the world—over three billion people—live on less than $2.50 a day and at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world).
640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, and 270 million have no access to health services.
Different religious groups have been stuck in conflicts for decades. Such tensions are widespread in the Middle East and many African nations. Muslims in Myanmar have been persecuted by the Buddhist regime for decades.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Yazidis, who are neither Christians nor Muslims, have been targeted by ISIS Muslim Sunni fighters in the region of northern Iraq that borders Syria and Kurdish regions.
While this does not sum up all religious conflicts all over the world, it gives an indication of how damaging this problem is.
It is worthy to mention that three global issues – inequality, poverty, and religious conflicts – are all interrelated. Inequality causes poverty, and poverty leads to violence, crime and civil wars.
Be the Change You Want to See in the World: NGOs and Volunteering
Non-governmental organisations follow the code: If you want change, be the change. They are active in humanitarian, educational, health care, public policy, social, human rights, environmental, etc.
Each country has several NGOs built up to give back to their society in their specialty.
NGOs are dependent on donations and volunteers. So, if you want to be the change you want to see in the world, you can either offer money or dedicate time. Here are some International NGOs that have changed the life of millions over the years that you can consider if you wish to donate or volunteer:
United Nations Volunteers
The United Nations remains the biggest and most diverse of International NGOs. The UN empowers refugees, especially women and children affected by war or natural disasters, and provides healthcare to those who do not have access to it.
They provide food and shelter to hundreds of thousands. With volunteers from 160 countries all over the world UNV has six different service lines for volunteering. You can also choose to volunteer either in your country, abroad, or even online.
Online volunteering is a great option for those who have a busy schedule.
FINCA is an NGO concerned with combating poverty by empowering low income people around the world with the tools to improve their lifestyle. They do so by offering responsible financial services such as small loans or savings accounts.
They also provide access to technology and life-enhancing products. In their fight against poverty, FINCA accepts one-time and monthly donations, as well as volunteering or joining their team.
Being the number one global issue on the list, SolarAid is concerned with helping the climate by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The problem arises from the fact that 600 million in Africa do not have access to electricity.
Thus, they rely on dangerous Kerosene lamps which emit toxic black smoke. SolarAid provides families with solar lamps which are safe, clean, and affordable. As little as 4 Euros, can change an African family’s life.
HOPE is an international charity organisation that also improves the lives of the poor and needy. Their fight to combat poverty, disease, and disaster drives them to serve 1.5 million people around the world.
The organisation believes that small actions can have a big impact, therefore, they offer different donation plans which start from 10 dollars a month.
To be the change you want to see in the world, you don’t need to be a politician or someone in power. Becoming a global citizen starts by being aware of the problems the world is facing today.
It starts by spreading that awareness and taking initiative to change the habits which harm our planet.
A small donation can make a big difference. Finally, joining an NGO gives the volunteer an unmatched experience of self-worth and a real perspective on the global issues.
If you want change, be the change. No act of kindness is ever too small to make a change.