A is for Activism

1. the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.
2. action for change

Many twenty-somethings I know take pride in knowing we are part of something bigger. Many in our generation have a bigger cause (or a few) that we like to support and be a part of. My friend, and college roommate, Olivia is one of the biggest supporters of “the green movement.” She is the one who got me to change some of my day to day ways of being to be more green. Olivia has guest posted on GenPink a few times so I thought it would be fitting that she would start off the ABC series.

This guest post was written by Olivia McDaniel, a twentysomething fashion designer residing in Texas with her husband and her cat. She can be found blogging daily about all the things she is thankful for at Olive Relish.

when i was eight years old, i realized i was going to have to save the planet.

i was the kid who wore nerdy nature tee-shirts every day and collected coke cans with my best friend. i was the kid on a third grade field trip who cried – bawled actually – during an imax movie about the disappearing rainforests. i knew then that it was up to me to save the world: this was my mission, my purpose in life.

over the years, as i got caught up in the craziness of school and friends and boyfriends and figuring out who i was and figuring out what i wanted to be, i kind of forgot about my mission. well, forgot is not the right word – but i do think that my mission just got crowded out a little bit, pushed to the back burner… the very back burner.

then i went to see an inconvenient truth at the magnolia theater with my mom. and, just like i did on that third grade field trip to the imax, i cried. at twenty-three years old, al gore had helped me to remember my eight-year-old self, and his film had renewed my passion and my mission.

immediately afterward i took action. not in the crazy drastic picket-signs-and-yelling-at-people kind of way, though, because that’s not my style. i tried to learn as much as i could about the climate crisis and then i focused my attention on finding out what i could do to make a difference. global warming, like so many other issues we face today, is a huge and overwhelming problem. you cannot fix it on your own. neither can i. but we can each educate ourselves and make small changes in our daily lives that will add up to a much bigger change.

i took a long hard look at my life and the choices that i make, both with my actions and my pocketbook. then i started carpooling to work. i changed my light bulbs to compact fluorescents, unplugged appliances when they weren’t being used, and became more aware of the electricity and water i was using in everyday life. we called our electricity company and switched to wind energy. i put a stop to the piles and piles of junkmail that arrived in our mailbox daily. i did a little bit of research and found out how easy it was to recycle in my area. i switched to all natural cleaning and home care products, and beauty products too. i started buying organic foods whenever i had the option, and carrying our groceries home in reusable
(and adorable) nylon bags. eventually i stopped consuming animal products
altogether (for those of you who don’t know, vegetarianism is a fantastic way to save the animals and the environment ).

and i talked to people about it. mostly my friends and family, because i’m a bit of an introvert. but so many people out there are suffering from a lack of information. some of them are ignorant on purpose — you can’t expect to win everyone over — but you’d be surprised how many people are open and willing to listen to you (as long as you’re careful not to be too pushy). and if you can change the way just one person thinks, and they can change one person, and so on… it’s worth the effort. plus, you might just learn something from someone else in the process.

the purpose of this post is not to convince you to go green. i do hope that it will inspire you to take a moment, now that you have
arrived at this particular place in your life, to remember your inner eight-year-old. what was important to her? she was probably passionate about something — and chances are she was fearless, confident, and determined to do everything she could to change her world for the better. listen to her, rediscover what matters to you, and then take action. your eight-year-old self was probably pretty limited as to what action she could take, but your twenty-something self is not. she is living her own life — and every decision she makes, no matter how small, has meaning.

I will leave you with a question – what is it that matters to you and are you doing it alone? The cause that matters to me is Adopt a Soldier.

4 thoughts on “A is for Activism

  1. I care a lot about environment. And I am strictly pro adoption. Even though I don’t really go out of my way to do anything big (which is a pity), I do try live a go-green life.

  2. Growing up I found myself helping out at church functions supporting the needy in my city, but since I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder when I was 18 I have been active with my local Epilepsy Society, volunteering at fundraisers and raising awareness. I’m actually really lucky in that my seizures are completely controlled by medication, but I’ve met a lot of people who have a much tougher time than I do. Helping to ensure that everyone can live as normal a life as possible despite their condition is what is important to me.

  3. For me, the causes that matter to me, are: Multiple Sclerosis, the environment, cancer,the military, and ANYTHING having to do with children.

  4. Glad you like milsupport programs! I thought people had forgotten about us from time to time. What’s most important on the subject of “activism” is comprehending what’s going in world affairs. Not an easy task, since it’s so complex. But I think our generation is lacking on that front.

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