In our landing page, the first thing you'll read is "Change your Focus".
I've built Be For Change around the idea that things need to change if we are to support our own lives, and things changing starts with us. To really drive this home, I'll post this famous quote which you've probably read a million times...
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Ghandi
But how can we really be the change?
How can we support a better future when there is so much going on in our lives at any given point?
Let's start a conversation on this topic...
What will the future look like?
For me, committing to Change began with this single question.
For a really long time, my vision of the future was somewhat bleak. I've been a fan of science fiction and dystopias for as long as I can remember, and when you marry that to my inherently glass half empty view of the world and research of climate change, the result was... well, I guess you can imagine your own version of that. If you can't, let's just call it Brave New World meets Atlas Shrugged, but with Frank Schatzing-worthy catastrophes. If you're not familiar with the stories, you can research them right after you read this post.
I was honestly convinced that the whole world was going to sh*t and that anyone who remained with half a brain and the ability to think would be put through unthinkable pain and loneliness. But I don't really see things like that anymore.
Right now, I honestly believe that we might just make it out of the future we've been heading towards. And before you ask, no, that's not just because today I'm having a slightly above average day influencing my skewed view of the world. It might have something to do with millionaires investing in sustainable alternatives and famous actors going vegan.
Paying attention to the (un)sustainable
In the last few years I've seen remarkable change take place. Some of it has come in the form of science and technological advancements, but the most noteworthy change has been one of mindset.
With an increasing amount of people speaking up about the issues we are facing, and both new and traditional media paying more attention, we're experiencing a change in what people choose to see, and therefore in how they address the world around them. You can't fix the issues you don't see, and what the many crisis we have faced in recent years have done is that they have created awareness. I'm not saying that such freak weather accidents or starvation are in any way positive, but they are hard to ignore and they've gathered the attention that climate scientists and spokespeople in developing countries couldn't. There has never been this much talk about abolishing slavery and banning harmful chemicals. We've never had so many headlines about rethinking war or this many publication covers campaigning for environmental causes. People are paying attention, we have momentum.
Now we need to adjust our focus.
Changing the focus of attention in our information economy
It has been clear to me for a number of years now that, with the rise of the internet and how it empowers each individual citizen, change is no longer something that big companies push for and which then trickles down from early adoption to mass market.
Instead, as individual citizens we now have the power to demand change and to support with our money the companies or individuals who offer us what we truly want, even if they are halfway across the world.
We can empower projects by financially backing them from the comfort of our own couch. By sharing a single photo we can tell all our friends of a product we truly believe in. And yet, how often are we harnessing the power of the internet and of social media to support our values?
Instead, we've turned what was meant to be a social experience into a one-sided conversation about what we have done today (especially if it is somewhat similar to the people we grew up idolizing.) (And apparently we grew up idolizing all the wrong facets of people, or have otherwise forgotten to channel Jane Goodall because there was no chimpanzee at hand for a photo.) (Now pass the glass of wine.)
This is not an exercise in public shaming, I'm guilty of falling in the trap of social media too, forgetting that I have a voice which can be used for more than captioning a pretty (in my eyes) picture. But I'm writing to argue that now is the time to remember the power that these platforms give us.
You might be thinking that there are plenty of accounts out there posting about what it means to be sustainable already, and a bunch of organizations petitioning against the unethical treatment of people, animals and planet alike - and that is a fair point. You might even be convinced that, because these accounts with thousands of followers are doing such a great job, you have nothing to bring to the table. But that's simply not how it works! And these are problems worthy of far more attention than what we're usually willing to spare.
aka. my new favourite #
Just because someone else is doing it, doesn't mean you can't do it too.
Or did you ever stop to think 'I can't post this picture of my Friday night dinner because that's what my friend did...'?! No f*cking way!!!
The point is: this is not a competition! It's a conversation, one very important conversation, for which we need as many people as possible sitting at the table. Because, guess what, you do have a stake on what happens - so you may as well have a saying in it too.
We need to unite as a community, and if you are reading this now you're already a part of it. You care. You want things to change. You have a few opinions you've been holding back.
So the ultimate question is: Will you?
Will you take part on the conversation? Will you allow this to be a personal matter? Will you eagerly read the posts of other people and take the time to freaking reply with your opinion on it?
Leave me a comment saying why sustainability matters to you!
PS: tomorrow (5th of June) is NoStraw day! This is a Heal Our World Challenge championed by Justin Blaney, so join us in saying No to Straws for 24h
PPS: that could be your first social media post about sustainability? Don't forget to tag us @beforchange if you do it and we'll give you a shout out!