Santa creepy, hurry down the chimney tonight…?
First off, merry Christmas everyone! I think I haven’t posted in a month b/c finals, art, competitions, crap from my life, more crap from my life, and more crap from my life, so I better get started here…
Today, I thought, keeping with the festive Christmas (& end-of-2016) theme, I should post something about changing the world, especially for the better. Some are things that we mere mortals can do in our everyday lives; others will have to be done by charitable billionaires (Bill Gates u listenin’?) or organizations, but here are just my Top 10 Ideas for Changing the World in 2K17.
10. (Actually) Help a Homeless Person
This doesn’t have to be enormous: sometimes, just smiling & greeting them helps by cheering them up. If you have some odd jobs that you can offer them, then this is even better. They gain experience, money, a sense of accomplishment, and a potential career beginning as people see that they are skilled at something. That then may lead to a part-/full-time job, meaning that they can start on the road of becoming self-sufficient, which, in my opinion, should be the ultimate goal for not just financially distressed people, but for everyone. Of course, direct monetary & material donations help too, but there’s a saying somewhere along the lines of “Give a man a fish, & you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish, & you feed him for a lifetime.”
9. Help the Environment…And Yourself
Retailers are now officially giving you free stuff (& coupons/gift cards) to recycle their products. Check out 10 of these retail chains right here!
8. Donate a Cell Phone
Though cell phones have gotten a bad rap from modern American society, I can’t help but expound their virtues. They are cheap, easy to use, and sturdy (especially Nokia phones; I have one myself, and I’ve probably dropped it at least 25 times (no joke), w/o any visible effect to the function of the phone). They’re also completely life-changing – w/ instant connection to the rest of the world, people can find job opportunities, dial someone for homework help, and, in some extreme cases, escape oppression, like in the example of Donna Rosario, as depicted by Charles C. Mann in his book 1493. Rosario, a Brazilian farmer, was at risk of having her land unlawfully confiscated by (corrupt) gov’t officials backed by Brazilian & international corporations. However, she was able to dial her lawyer when land inspectors came to confiscate her farm, and in the end she kept her farm, a very happy outcome considering how her parents’ farm, among others, was confiscated unlawfully just a couple of decades ago.
7. Give Poor Communities Internet/Phone Access
I honestly think that connecting the world is probably the best way to alleviate poverty: if you look into the stats, most of the countries w/ the smallest GDPs are landlocked. Many, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, are not poor in natural resources – they’ve got a decent climate for crops and numerous natural resources, such as gold. All they need is some method of “getting out” & connecting w/ the rest of the world.
Also, unless we have an unlimited supply of money, it’s not sustainable to keep donating money toward feeding these communities; what we need is to “teach them to fish,” to continue the metaphor begun in #10.
With the advent of phones & the Internet, it is easier than ever to connect the world. What we need is people to organize communities’ attempts toward connecting themselves: I propose establishing satellite connection in all inhabited areas, and having the communities pool money toward buying a computer & a phone each. Then, the inhabitants can share the computer & phone, getting, say, an hour per person per week of internet & phone time. Though it’s not much to us people living in developed countries, it can be 1) an enormous boon to education & job-training, 2) a way of connecting w/ others & opening the eyes to other cultures/places, 3) great for finding job opportunities & selling stuff online, and 4) fun – I mean, who doesn’t like looking at Twitter wars once in a while?
If the said community is, however, too poor to pool money for this type of purpose, then I propose having several communities pool money for a low-end Android smartphone (b/c iPhones are just too expensive – high-end ones cost almost $1000, while I’ve found $10 Android phones). If 12 communities come together, they can get 1 month each of smartphone time per year, and each community only has to pay less than a dollar to buy the smartphone. And I say smartphone instead of cell phone here, as people can both surf the web & call people using them. However, if it’s just for the individual, sometimes even $10 for a phone is too much – according to this website, South Sudan’s annual GDP per capita is just over $210.
Sometimes, even a loan of $20 can change a life. Read more about micro-loans here.
5. Reduce Trash
Need I say more?
*Also, kudos to this BuzzFeed producer for trying to make no trash for 30 days!*
4. Use Less Paper
Seriously, though, I actually know a guy who calls himself eco-friendly albeit having printed out his entire 700-page Chemistry e-Book & hand-writing all his papers & homework.
3. Talk to Someone Random
Who knows? You might gain a new friend, that person might need someone to talk to… Anyways, what’s there to lose?
2. Quit Wasting Food
The next time you go to a restaurant, consider taking your leftovers home in a box instead of having the waiter/waitress dump them; it really makes a difference. Not only are you saving yourself money by not having to buy yourself unnecessary food, but you are also helping the environment & people in need. Supermarket retailers, read this article to see what France is doing to alleviate their own food wastage problem.
It really can make someone’s day, beside being scientifically proven to change your own mood for the better.