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Embody The Soloution Pt.2



Like I said in Part 1, in order to solve problems, instead of keeping our focus on the actual problem, we need to move our attention to finding and working on the solution. This can be difficult seeing as mainstream media tends to keep its focus on said problems, but already countless, inspiring people all over the world have found their own individual ways to embody the solution as well as spreading the message and working to help others to do so too. I listed just some of these people, businesses and organisations in Part 1.

A while back, I came across the world 'Shaktivism', the combination of spiritual practise and activism. If, like me, you want to channel those good vibes to heal, empower and help transform society with active solutions, then take a look below, I've put together a list of different ways you can be a more conscious activist.





Educate others


I believe one of the main reasons why things like discrimination still happen is due to a lack of education about whomever is being discriminated against. So naturally, educating others is one of the ways to put a stop to it.

The best way to educate others is if it naturally comes up in conversation, i.e. they ask a question or the conversation turns to a topic you're knowledgeable about. With veganism, I get a lot of similar questions over and over. At first I gave quick answers because sometimes I get a little too passionate and the other person starts to look a little uncomfortable and regrets having ever asked. (Sorry, Mum). But now, thanks to the practise from each time I get asked and researching more information myself about veganism, I can put across my argument in a more lighthearted and well-informed way. I am always learning more things about veganism though so my answers are always evolving.

So bear in mind, there's a difference between ramming your opinions down someones throat and educating, your goal shouldn't be to 'change someone's mind', but simply to share information or share something that has really helped you.

Another great way to do this could be to recommend films, documentaries and articles that have helped you understand certain situations or make certain decisions.

Sharing information also becomes quite vital when it comes to what's going on in the world. Not all events are broadcasted by mainstream media nor are the events broadcasted always done so in an unbiased way, and even though I'm talking about focusing on the solution here, you obviously can't find a solution without knowing of the problem. Vice News is a current affairs organisation with a website, Youtube channel and various social media accounts. They report (unbiasedly) on international news, a lot of which is under reported by mainstream media.


Social Media


One of the things I love about the modern world is social media. It can be such an amazing way to reach out to other like minded people, to spread the latest news, to grow support for campaigns, to find inspiration...and what's best is the opportunity it brings to connect people globally. Plus, regardless of age, everyone has a voice on social media.

Twitter~ Nowadays, I keep up to date with the goings on in the world mostly through twitter as I can read about first hand experiences and genuine stories from people who were affected by whatever news that may be and I can read all about it all in one place, pretty much as soon as it's happened, just by exploring a hashtag.

It's also a great way to learn about different activist movements - learn of their existence and learn why they exist and then share what you've learned with others too! For example, the awesome #FreeTheNipple movement for gender equality started on social media.

On top of that, it's opened up another way to help raise money. I've seen campaigns where companies have promised to donate a certain amount of money for every retweet a tweet gets.
Here is an example of one such campaign where $1 was donated per retweet by @BarefootWine to @Surfrider to clean up and protect the world's oceans and beaches.


Instagram~ Similarly with money being donated per retweet, there are campaigns on Instagram where companies donate money per 'certain picture' posted with a certain hashtag.
Here is an example of a campaign last year where you simply had to post a picture of yourself in Tree Pose (yoga), add #saveourskin to the caption and tag @bliss_spa, who would then donate to @nature_org to plant thousands of trees all over the world!

Educating others on Instagram is also possible too, personally I learned that the term 'smudging' is often improperly used. It's a sacred Native American practise that involves so much more than simply burning sage.


Challenges


You may have recently heard that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, that went viral two years ago, actually funded a recent breakthrough. NEK1 is the newly discovered gene associated with ALS, which has given researchers a new target for developing possible treatments! 


Petitions


Petitions are a great way to bring attention to certain matters. In the UK, petitions with over 10,000 signatures will be responded to by the government and those with over 100,000 will be considered for debate in parliament.

From what I could find, I've linked countries to their official petition site;

Australia 
(How to petition in) Bahamas
(How to petition in) Bangladesh
Canada
Countries in the European Union
Cyprus 
Germany
Guyana
Kenya
Malaysia  
(How to petition in) Montenegro
New Zealand
Pakistan
Scotland 
(How to petition in) South Africa
Sri Lanka
UK
USA

Some countries don't have petition sites specifically for their country so here are some popular sites that host petitions from all over the world, simple search for a country in the search bar;

Change.org 
Avaaz
38degrees
Go Petition

Of course, not all countries hold petitions to a high regard, some use petitions as simply a way to gauge the views of the public. Either way, they can be a great way to get your voice heard and inspire others to speak up too and that's how change is inspired.


Protests and Demonstrations


One of the first things I think of when it comes to what to do to make a change, is protesting. There are so many different ways you can protest, from marching through streets with hand made signs to simply refusing to give your seat up... ;) When people take some time out of their lives to march through streets, it shows how much the cause means to them and if they cared enough to do it once, they'll likely do it as many times as it takes to get the message across. Singing, holding demonstrations and starting campaigns to keep movements alive can all be done in a peaceful manner and is a great way to inspire others not to be scared to stand up for what they believe in too. There is strength in numbers, especially when it comes to protests and visually seeing so many people standing up for a certain cause will get governments listening.

In March 1930, Mohandas Gandhi started the 'Salt March', an act of civil disobedience - British officials had introduced taxes on salt production there, so this act was illegal. This non-violent protest, gained worldwide attention and continued until Gandhi was given bargaining rights at a negotiation in London.You can read more about it, along with four other influential protests in history, here.


Emails and Letters


You can contact your local government representative through email, with a letter or even through their social media channels. In the UK, if you haven't been responded to after two weeks, it is advised that you follow up with a phone call or arrange an appointment with them.
Edit: Earlier this year (2017) I emailed my local member of parliament about openly opposing the Muslim ban that Trump was proposing. He replied very adamantly that he completely disagreed with it and was shocked to see how our own Prime Minister was acting towards the US President. I don't understand politics anywhere near enough to know what he can do about it all but it's nonetheless very reassuring to know that the person representing your area in parliament listens to the people their representing.


Donate


Donating money to charities and organisations who are already taking action will help them continue to do so. Any amount of money will help - you never know, that one penny or one cent could get the total up to the next hundred. If you currently are unable to donate though, you could participate in an activity that would involve people sponsoring you or you could always hold a fundraiser - contact your local supermarkets or shopping centre to ask to hold a stall to raise money there. The only thing you'll need to bear in mind is that there are a lot of people trying to do this, so you may have to wait a few weeks for a slot. Whether it be a raffle, a car boot sale, a bake sale or simply collection buckets, make sure to ask the charity first, they can send you official stickers and forms and generally make the process easier for you.


Volunteer


Charity shops and organisations are almost always looking for volunteers to help raise money and spread awareness for different causes.


Be The Change

Throw kindness around like confetti


You want more kindness in the world? Then throw that kindness around like confetti! There is a lot of negativity in mainstream media so spreading positivity is a great way to counteract it. Even something as little as smiling at a stranger or giving a random compliment can make someone's day. I cannot count the number of times someone has brought me out of a shitty mood simply by smiling at me as they walk past or giving a genuine compliment. That makes me sound very easy, but when I was in a self-hating stage in my life, a compliment would get me to try and see what they did, get me to see myself from a different perspective. For example, I used to get compliments on my hair relatively often and eventually my hair became the first thing I started to love about myself. And for the record, in a society heavily influenced by businesses that push to find faults in yourself so that they can profit off of those insecurities they've created in you, learning to love yourself as you are, is a form of activism. Other ways that have help me feel happy, secure and learn to love myself include; yoga, being in nature, consciously forgiving myself and others, expressing gratitude and surrounding/doing things that make me laugh. Meditation, which is something I should really do more often, is also an amazing way to quiet all the noise that tells you you aren't enough as you are - all those things, by the way, are things society teaches you, (I strongly disbelieve that anyone is born feeling like they aren't good enough), so when you meditate, it shakes your mind of all those messages, bringing you a sense of inner peace. And when you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you are a lot more likely to behave in this non-judgmental, compassionate way towards others too.

Of course, there are a lot of things going on in the world that doesn't exactly make you feel able to walk around with a smile on your face and walking around in denial about it all won't help anything either. But what makes me feel more uplifted, what gives me hope, is that when something bad happens, there is, guaranteed without fail, someone there who doesn't hesitate to help. People who show up, take time out of there own lives, to do whatever they can to help. In times where it feels like there is none, it shows that humanity still exists.


Where do you shop?


If you're campaigning against child labour for example, it wouldn't really make sense to buy your clothes from a chain that still uses child labour. If you are campaigning against animal exploitation, it wouldn't really make sense to still be eating meat. You see where I'm going with this? As consumers, we can often become passive when it comes to questioning where our food, clothes, beauty products, utensils, tech, etc... is coming from. Becoming more aware of the companies you are supporting through buying certain products is another way support your campaign or protest against something - boycotting.

However, there are some grey areas here, a friend of mine is currently in Bangladesh and she found out that the employees of a certain clothing retailer, who still uses sweatshops, had either that, homelessness or prostitution as options (- of course, sex work is fine if it's your choice to go into it). So although sweatshops are unacceptable, boycotting may not be the best solution for the people you are trying to help.


Group Meditations

In the part 1, I talked about how giving your energy to a solution rather than a problem will help the solution grow more instead. Group meditations with shared intentions is a great way to focus your energy in that way. This site is a way to create group meditation events where individuals can participate from all over the world!




'Be the change'











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