We sit at home on the couch, flick on the news and see frightening images of our plastic polluted oceans, shocking new research on climate change and countries in desperate need of aid workers, food and water. We sit and watch horrified, but what do we do about it?
New Zealand is known to be a clean green country and is ranked the 2nd most peaceful country on Earth this year. These are amazing achievements and something our country should be proud of. It shows the good we are capable of if we work together as one. But it seems that we hide behind these labels and figures, acting like there is nothing more to do. Thinking that everything will change on its own or that nothing will happen if we speak up . What is the worst that could happen?
I’m sure you have all heard of Greta Thunberg, a teen climate and environment activist. When she was 8 she did a live Ted Talk, speaking about Climate Change. After that she began her ‘School Strike for Climate Change’ movement, sitting outside Riksdag during school hours, for 3 weeks. During her strike, Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of a Swedish climate-focused social media company came along and posted about her movement on Facebook and it started gaining global attention.
In May this year, more than 1.4 million young people around the world took part in her school strike for climate action . Strikes were organised by young people from 2,233 different cities and towns, in 128 countries. Because of Greta’s firm point of view, publishing companies have been inspired and have doubled the production of children's books which talk about the climate crisis, hoping it will encourage more young people to save the planet. This has been called the “Greta Thunberg effect”.
All it took was one voice. One strong opinion. To change the lives of many, making global change.
We make a change by getting involved with our communities. Doing something to help out in your area can look like a number of things. It could be organising a group of friends to do a clean up along the river or volunteering to be a helping hand behind the scenes of a local community event. It could also be letting your voice be heard by having a say in our upcoming elections. Get informed. Find out who the candidates are in your area. Look at what they stand for, and see who values align with yours. Show that you care, by standing up for what you believe in, and getting out and voting for your future.
It is the ideas you have and the contribution that you bring which can change your community. Our country. The world. Seek out "your tribe" to join your voice amongst others who see the importance of making a positive change. Invite friends to get involved, to get off the couch and make a difference. It is by taking time out of your own life to help others, that will take us a step closer to making the world a better place.
One voice at a time, working together, we can achieve the changes our community needs.
Get out and about. Help and get involved. The time to do it is now.