Activism for all
What does activism mean to you? When we think of the term “activism” we tend to think of noisy and disruptive protests, or people chaining themselves to trees or buildings to make their point. But this is not the only way. If you are an introvert or an empath and cannot face the thought of taking part in a mass protest, the good news is that there are many other ways for you to get your point across and campaign for change.
1 – What do you feel passionate about?
In order to achieve real change, it’s important to choose a cause that is close to your heart. Do you passionately believe that the government should be prioritising a green recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic? Or are you angered that systemic racism still exists in the 21st century? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of potential causes to campaign for, but just pick the one that is most important to you.
2 – Acknowledge that any form of injustice can lead to strong feelings
Issues relating to human rights, social injustice, animal cruelty or abuse of our planet are likely to trigger strong emotions – acknowledge this and accept what you’re feeling. Activism is the perfect way to convert anger into constructive action.
3 – Check your facts
Your activism will be much more persuasive if you have the facts and figures to back up your argument.
4 – Decide on the form of activism that is right for you
The most successful form of activism will be the form that aligns with your own personality and values. The following is a selection of several options that are less confrontational than the more traditional protest march:
- Signing a petition – the website change.org has petitions on many different subjects, allowing you to focus on what is important to you.
- If you are campaigning about a local issue, it may be useful to write to your MP – in case you don’t know who your MP is, this website will tell you.
- Social Media is a great platform to not only promote awareness but also connect with like-minded people so that you can take action together. It is also a highly effective way to get the attention of politicians, leaders and other decision-makers.
- Spread awareness of your cause through a blog – this can be a good platform for sharing information and progress relating to your activism.
- A relatively new type of activism is “craftivism” which involves campaigning through arts and crafts. An example of this is Craftivist Collective which was founded in 2009 and is a non-confrontational way to campaign on social justice issues.
- If you have discovered that a certain company has a poor human rights record or an inadequate animal welfare policy you may choose to buy products from competitors who have more ethical policies in place. There are many resources available to help with this sort of economic activism, for example the Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer magazine.
5 – Persistence
Activism is not a one-time action – in order for your campaigning to have the maximum effect, it’s important to follow up with the companies/MPs that you have contacted, continue posting articles on your blog, and continue shunning companies with poor ethical policies.
Many individuals and organisations are already quietly taking action to help create the fairer and more compassionate world that we all want to live in. There is a place, and a need, for all types of activism. The question is – which form of activism is right for you?