Ben and Jerry’s came up with a flavor called Empower Mint. Although I applaud the ice cream maker’s effort to motivate people, I am not sure if lack of motivation or power is the issue. First, media is filled with empowerment content. TV and social media are saturated with be adventurous and be the master of your destiny stuff. So lack of awareness about empowerment does not seem to be an issue. Also, this generation is the most empowered generation. They have smart phones that enable them to communicate anywhere and anytime. I remember when I had to write air mail letters and make expensive international calls to stay in touch with friends abroad. Smart phones also enable people to search the information instantly. Man, I used to be proud when I could search the encyclopedia fast. Now you can even just speak to your phone and it will find the information. Also, internet has come so far. When I was a teenager, we did not have Google or Wikipedia. Now people can easily search their information through Google and Wikipedia. They can even ask questions on Quora and get decent answers. Hence, lack of tools is not an issue either.
The main issue of lack of empowerment is not the awareness nor the tools. Instead, the dearth of empowerment is driven by apathy and the deception that one has to do something big. First, many people just don’t care. Although they are being affected by many policies from food to taxes, they just don’t care. Second, many think they have to do something big to make a difference. Media is filled with stories of achieving something big or challenging. This is a deception. Change starts small and immediately. You don’t need to set up a big company or super organization. What you need to do is to change yourself and start affecting others. When everyone changes bit by bit, then society and the world changes.
So here are some things that one can do immediately to help out society.
- Consume less. There are so many concerns about environment and there is one simple solution. Consume less. Just cut down on the consumption and there will be less pollution. Shop less. Drive less. Turn off your computer/ laptop. Don’t use your phone as much.
- Start donating. You don’t have to donate a lot to start with. Just start with five dollars a month and start increasing. For good charities, please check givewell.org
- Clean your neighborhood. Waste less. Pick up trash and recycle. Start being a good neighbor and people will notice and listen to you.
- Take care of your neighbors. It is noble to care about people who are far away and need our help. But remember to take care of your neighbors as well. You can start by babysitting, helping after school activities, or just being a nice person who cares.
- Tell your friends. Inform them about important issues. We have Facebook, twitter, and more. Just make sure that you have a convincing argument instead of just spamming articles or posts.
Change will not seem imminent or eminent but with time, people will change and the world will change.