Changing the world is a daunting task.. How much change can one person really make in this complex world we live in? But I am here to tell all the other 1 man/woman armies out there to not give up! (and to ask if can we please join forces?) And to perhaps inspire others to take an interest in our ever changing world.
Twenty something year old, progressive young people with a flare of passion are the most important instrument in changing the world, and here’s why. Some of the biggest and most powerful movements the world has seen have been started by college students and young people with a dream. Passion is the biggest drive for change, passion enables you to think outside the box, challenge the status quo and do things might be perceived as radical and extreme to get your voice heard. Age seems to hinder people in their drive for change, people become disheartened and cold, thinking that “things have always, and will always be this way”, and “one person can’t change the world”… well.. Here’s what I think of that;
Greensboro Sit Ins, 1960. College Students.
One of the most notable events of the civil rights movement and perhaps the first thing that sprung to mind when I decided to write this piece was the Greensboro Sit Ins. College students peacefully protesting US segregation which got widespread media and government attention and contributed to the efforts of the American Civil Rights movement. A passion and need for equality drove these young men to challenge the status quo, for segregation seemed like normalcy at the time we now know was completely ludicrous. Thanks to men like these, complete racial segregation in the US is no longer commonplace (although racial issues still do occur).
#ChicagoGirl (aka Ala’a Basatneh and her team of civilian journalists)
If you haven’t watched #ChicagoGirl, stop reading this and jump on Netflix and get inspired. Ala’a is a young woman who ran a internet movement against the Assad Regime in Syria, through her laptop in Chicago (hence the name). She organises young people on the ground in protests and rallies and collects videos, photographs and information as a tool to help empower civilians and to keep them safe. Young people have such a pivotal role in being tech experts in the modern world. Being able to capture Assad led attacks on civilians peacefully protesting via cameras on phones, then uploading them online has been crucial in showing the world what the Assad regime is doing to it’s own people, and has gained the Assad Regime international condemnation. Civilian journalists provide the missing information from war zones that outside sources can’t access, often risking their own lives in the process.
College Disinvestment Protests
Students are becoming more and more aware of the impact on the environment we are responsible for, and in turn what out university (and colleges) are responsible for. Many Universities and Colleges have investment portfolios, particularly in the oil and gas industry (because $$$) – and students are not happy about it. Fossil fuels have angered students in some of the most prestigious universities, such as Harvard, Yale and even Melbourne university here in Australia, causing sit-ins, protests and rallies on said campuses. The push for disinvestment of fossil fuels shows that our generation is going to be a lot more pro-active and aware of our impact on the environment, and is putting pressure on institutions to invest in more sustainable forms of power. To date, over 470 institutions have divested $2.6 trillion in fossil fuel investments.
All of these movement’s started of small, by young passionate people and had some form of impact in the world, from saving a lives on the ground in Syria to kicking of civil rights protests across America which contributed to the spreading of civil rights movement.
Here are some reasons why you should be annoyingly passionate:
- Because it is our lives that politics effects. Unfortunately we are living in a generation that seems to feel detached from politics, we feel that policy is distant from us and that we have no control over government which is FALSE. Baby this is a democracy, be democratic and participate. Tell your politicians what you want out of them, being passive is useless and you will regret not speaking up.
- Now more than ever youth have the power to influence, we are natural experts (and addicts) on online communication, we can reach people all over the globe instantly , we can build online communities of like minded peoples, and we have the capacity to collect mounds of information to support our arguments. You’re cell phone is your access to power. Knowledge = Power. Harnessing our own power is vital. If there’s anything that can be learnt from #ChicagoGirl it’s that with passion for a cause, change is achievable.
- It’s important to feel apart of something, it’s important to be bigger than the day to day. Being passionate gives life meaning, it gives you something to be proud of, to work towards and to meet like minded people through. Engaging in a movement not only gives you opportunity to change you own life, or lives of others, it provides you with an opportunity to build new skills, create larger social networks, and to feel a sense of pride about doing something important.
- Because you have skills that no one else does. You might be one of the best graphic designers, public speakers, tech specialists, social media buffs or social media writers etc. These type of skills combined with passion for a cause can make you an integral part of the machine for social movement.
- If it’s not you, who will. Most of us in our generation are inherently lazy – rightfully labelled “slacktavists” hello #Kony2012, we feel comfortable behind our computer (and iphone screens) when we share hash tags in our efforts to be righteous. Imagine if Rosa Perks never sat on that white mans bus seat, Martin Luther King never gave his “I have a dream” speech, if Emily Wilding Davidson (the suffragette) never threw herself in front of the Kings horse.. If all of these people didn’t have the passion along with their fellow radicals to challenge the system the world would have never changed. I’m not promoting throwing yourself in front of a race horse, but educating yourself, taking interest, participating… can make an enormous difference.
So wether it’s something local, such as graffiti within your community, or something big such as global warming, take a stand, make a change, get involved.
“Outcome is not in your control. What’s in your control is your effort and your intentions.” -Amit Sood