12 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Community

Did you know that you have a lot of influence over the laws and policies in your local community? Here are 12 practical and easy ways to effect positive change. From Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life by Zoe Weil, co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education

  • When you listen to, watch, or read the news and learn about a problem that concerns you, ask yourself: “What could I do about this?” Think of something practical and easy enough that you will do it. Be creative. Share the thought with ten friends.
  • Ask your friends and colleagues about what they are involved in that they may never have told you about before. If an issue sparks your interest, join them in their efforts.
  • Raise a concern at the dinner table with your family, at a pot-luck with your friends, around the cafeteria in your school or senior center, and/or at your suppers in your religious institution, and brainstorm ideas for what you could do to help. Make a group commitment.
  • Put your current skills to use. A web designer could help an emerging non-profit group create a website; a scientist could review data and offer accurate analysis and expertise; a teacher could incorporate all the issues in this book into the curriculum. Assess your talents and find your niche.
  • If you’re skilled at making money, donate to organizations and individuals with limited budgets that are working to create the changes that are most meaningful to you. Make sure to carefully evaluate the groups and people to whom you donate to ensure that they are using your money wisely and effectively.
  • If you are a parent, join the PTA and get involved in your child’s school. Work to bring humane education into the classroom (visit HumaneEducation.org).
  • If you are a student, bring the issues in this book to your school by starting a MOGO club (visit HumaneEducation.org).
  • If you’re a senior citizen, bring the issues in this book to your community centers.
  • Join a service club in your community, meet your neighbors, and get involved in global and local efforts to create positive change.
  • Visit accuratedemocracy.com to learn more about the process and language of democracy. Then visit fairvote.org and learn about the Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) solution to the problem of rule by extreme factions.
  • Volunteer for a candidate whose values and integrity reflect your own, or run for office yourself.
  • Start calling, emailing, and writing to your elected officials to express your opinion about both specific legislation and general concerns. If you live in the United States, visit congress.org to contact your legislators and learn about their voting records.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life (Copyright © 2009 by Zoe Weil), is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education. She created the first M.Ed degree and certificate programs in humane education in the United States. Zoe leads MOGO and humane education workshops throughout the Unite States and Canada. She lives in coastal Maine. Visit zoeweil.com for information on workshops and presentations.

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