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How you can take action

“The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of people who are evil, but because of people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein.

It might feel like you have no control over the challenges you’re passionate about, whether it’s poverty, climate change or supporting asylum seekers. But we all have choices, and when we add them all up, we can make a huge impact.

Your vote

Why bother voting, all the big parties are the same and there are no real alternatives, right?

It’s true that since the 1980s and the rise and rise of conservative pro-maket neoliberal governments that alternative voices are hard to hear and appear to have less and less opportunity to make a difference. But we can’t just put our heads in the sand and hope for change!

Exercising your right to votes and NOT voting for the centralized political parties can introduce new debate and opportunity for change. But not just votes for any party. Vote as an informed citizen, as someone who knows what they believe and are not hoodwinked by mainstream media. Recent surveys of UKIP voters in the UK revealed they knew little of their policies and some assumed they were a ‘working person’s party ‘ because they wanted to preserve jobs for locals. Ill informed citizens are dangerous in democracy!

Use you vote wisely and consider which party will deliver on justice, equity and empowerment. There are plenty of place to get the facts – take the time and make your vote count.

Where you invest your money

The big banks are designed to make huge profits and their executives earn millions. It was the greed of the financial sector that caused the global financial crisis, that the poor are now paying for through reduced welfare services and so called austerity regimes.

We can start to create change by choosing other alternatives. Banks like Triodos and Charity Bank in the UK, and Bankmecu in Australia have responsible and ethical investment portfolios and are focused on providing the best results for community and voluntary sector organisations as well as individuals.

You can also think about where your pension or super is invested. Where any of your savings are being invested on your behalf? Money is a menace – use yours wisely to promote better outcomes for people and the environment – and yourself.

What you buy and where you shop

There are some products produced by big corporations for a profit, but others produced by social enterprises or that are ethical, local or fair trade.

Have you thought about where the products you buy come from? Next time you put something in your shopping trolley, check to see if it’s local, recycled or fair trade. Or try out a local social enterprise in your community – check out the Buy Social guide in the UK or the Social Traders Good Spender guide in Australia.

Imagine the difference we could make if even 20% of customers in your community switched from buying their morning coffee from Starbucks to the local social enterprise café that employs disabled people for example?

How you use energy

If we continue to burn fossil fuels, at current rates the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world.

The simple things make a difference. Turn off lights and heating when you’re not in the room, air-dry your clothes, or use public transport or car-pooling when you can.

You can also consider which energy company you use. Look around for green energy companies like ecotricity rather than just the big providers. What about the communities that have established their own source of non-fossil feul energy supply – check out Community Energy England for real examples of how communities have achieved alternative solutions that are better for people and the natural world.

Getting involved in your local community

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has”. 
– Margaret Mead

It’s likely there are already projects and events on in your local community where people are working together to create change. The voices of the restless are becoming louder. So why not join them?

Check out Citizens UK the Transitions Network or The Change Agency Australia to find out what’s happening in your local area. Act locally, think globally for a more just and fair world.

For more ideas, inspiration and alternative views, have a look at our Disruptive Dragonfly e-newsletter.

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