I read a post earlier today that made my heart drop a bit. It was by an influential London-based blogger, one who promotes fast fashion, but also organic beauty, is a damn good writer and photographer, and someone I respect and adore. In her New Year's post she expressed her disappointment and concern with the political landscape, of the feeling of impending doom we've all felt throughout this year, then she even went as far as to say she feels she should be gathering herself to expend an "all mighty burst of energy" to help make everything right - but then followed that by saying, "the big things are not really in our control sadly. So I'm just going to keep on with more of the same".

The problem with more of the same is it that it welcomes more of the same - and while some of that 'same' allows you to embrace the same good you're used to, just as much of it allows for the same bad to flourish too. Ignoring reality because it is too overwhelming doesn't make problems disappear, instead, like weeds in the ground, it encourages them to grow unbounded.

We've all bid adieu to 2016 with a sense of relief, "it can't get worse or weirder than last year" I overheard one lady say reassuringly to her friend in a coffee shop in London, laughing at the preposterousness of it all. 

But the truth is, it can. 

While most our resolutions at the start of this year will have been focused on self-improvement, that self-improvement will continue to feel incomplete unless our efforts positively affect those beyond ourselves. If 2016 has taught us anything, it's that the time has arrived for each of us to arouse our inner activist and cultivate positive change in our communities, our cities, our countries, our continents and our planet as a whole. 

While I looked forward to 2017 with a sense of excitement at the possibility and promise it holds, I too feel hesitation on where my energy ought to be thrown. I've already planted my foot fairly firmly into the eco-activist realm, but there are SO very many issues - politically, ecologically, and socially - and I can't write about, protest, or help with them all. For my output to be effective I have to focus myself on the ones which enrage, worry, or impassion me to respond - and in order to be able to respond, I have to have knowledge that they're happening and know how my voice can be heard.

It is easy to see our individual contributions to any cause as measly and ineffective. But the fact is, the collective efforts of each of us aid like the voices in the choir to create strength and unity amongst and around us. 

The most monumental changes this world has seen come from individual voices which rose up, joined forces and demanded change. Our politicians are our representatives and if we don’t ourselves represent the change this world needs to see - by voting with our dollar, our voice, our time and our actual physical votes - how can we vilify them for failing us, when in truth, we’ve failed ourselves. 

Every ounce of action makes a difference somewhere, to someone, like a rock dropped in a lake of placidity, the reach of the ripples caused by each effort go beyond our sight and knowledge. 

One. STAY INFORMED
This means doing more than trolling your own facebook feed which is filled with fake news. This means reading responsible journalism. Eco Cult has a great post up on how to fight back against Trump which is worth a read through, especially if you're American. It was through her post that I found THIS Chrome extension which will flag fake news sites, as well as this extension which tells you the bias of what you're reading. Her full post can be found HERE.

Two. ACT OUT 
You don't have to be a plucky picketer to protest. The New York Times recently reported that phoning legislators is the most effective way to have your voice heard. Just after the charlatan, Trump, won the American presidency There is an app by the Daily Action Group which was recently released just after the U.S elections which simplifies the process for you. Basically, you text the word "DAILY" to the number 228466 (or "A-C-T-I-O-N) or sign up at www.dailyaction.org. Once you enter your ZIP code (this is for Americans only at the moment!) you will receive a text each work day about an issue based on where you live with the contact information of who to speak to about the issue so you can make your call while you're in the line for your latte, on the bus or sitting in traffic. If you're not in the U.S you get the same type of info by attending town hall meetings, reading your local newspaper and signing up to newsletters from your local representatives.

Three. VOLUNTEER
Volunteering is probably the most intrinsically motivating way to participate in and support your community. Whatever it is that you feel aligns with your highest level of empathy - whether it is political, ecological, social, religious - find a way to spend your time with people who share your passions and who will inspire you and inform you. 

Four. DONATE
If you don't have time to stay informed, volunteer or participate (and even if you do) find a cause to donate to. My fellow Ethical Writer's Coalition members and I put together a post just before Christmas which features a number of not-for-profits which aid authentically. You can click through to the donations post HERE if you are having trouble finding a cause to align yourself to. 

Five. PROTEST / BOYCOTT
Protesting attracts more attention to a cause than doing nothing. If you are staying informed, you will undoubtedly find things you don't like in your local or federal systems, political or otherwise. There are physical protests which involve taking to the streets, there are civil disobediences, there are boycotts and there are interpersonal protests in which you engage with someone in (a two-way) conversation about something you find unserving to the greater good. As far as boycotts go, you can defund the enemy normally. There is a list HERE going around about what companies to pull your money and purchases from in order to defund the dufus known as Trump, while I've also written an article about how to defund the bad banks HERE by divesting your money from them. 

** If you're interested in adding some ecological and ethical changes to the list, I put together a post which features 9 Substantial Yet Simple Sustainable Switches you can make to get yourself going into a greener future HERE. **