We all have a cause we believe it’s worth fighting for: either related to wildlife conservation, environment or human rights. Regardless of which one of the above is closest to your heart, you’ve probably found yourself, at least once, doing something to improve the situation. Personally, I was involved in all of the above, at a certain point in my life.
After working as a volunteer, on and off, for a few international organizations and NGOs, I can’t help it but to look back on all the work they do, and ask myself, how much is it actually done. How much power do they have to make a change?
Some might think things move faster if you work at an international scale. Others believe what actually helps is working locally, at a smaller scale. Because the opinions are divided, so are the type of entities which make it happen: international organizations and local NGOs.
What all of them have in common, is the way in which they get to the final goal. Paperwork first, approvals, persuading, negotiating, and in the end, actually doing something. This makes the entire process difficult, and sometimes, when they can legally proceed to improve the situation, it’s too late. If you are an NGO, or any type of organization or agency, you have to obey some rules and regulations, and only when all the conditions are met, you can achieve something. You just can’t go around it. International organizations seem to have a lot of power, but keep in mind that they have to deal with Governments and politics, which slows them down considerably, or even block them from achieving the goal. What is also common, is that not all the people working at a high level are actually interested in the cause, but they are in it for the material benefits. Sad, but a reality of the society we live in…
So, what actually works? What does the trick when is needed?
The answer is quite surprising: YOU. Private individuals achieve more than any authorized entity does and ever will. You are the supreme force. You can go out there, and make a difference. There’s nothing we can’t do, as a community, as a society. Working together is what makes it happen.
And by going out there, I don’t mean ‘Liking’ a picture on Facebook, or ‘Sharing’ it. Don’t get me wrong, this can also be effective when it comes to pet adoptions (I got a dog I’ve never met, adopted on another continent, only through sharing posts with the right people), but in most cases, raising awareness only, doesn’t do the trick. When it comes to a certain individual or situation, more is better. If it’s something you can do, just go out there and do it!
Previously working with refugees, I can tell you for sure nothing is more useless to them, than a person sitting in front of a computer, and clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook. Fleeing the country with only the clothes they are wearing, and a huge emotional luggage, they need help integrating in the new community, food, clothes, education, legal assistance.
An animal waiting in a shelter to be adopted doesn’t care either about you pitting him on a social network. All he needs is a home, food, medical care and lots of love, and these must come soon, before time runs out, and he will be euthanized.
Complaining about pollution and change in climate, won’t help either if you don’t actively get involved, to improve the situation. You can and should use only what you need, and save as much as possible on resources. And yes, it all starts with you. Complaining about other’s attitude, but you not changing yours, won’t do the trick.
During the years I’ve met people who go for what they think is right, and I was amazed by how much things chance, compared to the situation in which you have to wait for other people to make the decisions for you. These special individuals who put the cause they fight for, above themselves, are the ones who get to the goal.
Best part is that we all have this in us, we can all dedicate ourselves to helping others. All we have to do is open our eyes and hearts and get involved. Find a cause you really care about, get informed, and get busy changing things. Even if you can’t help all the animals or people in need in the world, you can completely change the world for that person or animal. And that’s what makes all the difference.
We all have a skill which others might use, or which can benefit an animal or the environment. If what you know how to do best is plant trees, do it. If you have some clothes you can donate to someone in need, do it. If you can switch off the light or use less water, do it. If we all do a little bit, that bit becomes a lot. It might seem like nothing much, but if we all choose to don’t do it, because nobody else does it, then we’ll destroy this planet completely, one day at a time, and for now, we only have one Earth, so we can’t afford such a situation.
Remember that it all starts with you, with one person, always, before it reaches global scale! Don’t wait for others to do it, thinking somebody else will take care of this, as things might not ever get done. And maybe, that somebody, who can go out there and achieve something, is … YOU!