“Care. Love. Be outraged. Be devastated. Don’t just give up. The world needs good humans today.”
This source of inspiration the day after the Las Vegas shootings came from an unexpected source: a post on The Ellen Show’s Instagram account. But maybe the source isn’t so unexpected–who hasn’t been touched or inspired by Ellen?!
When tragedies happen, I often feel so small. What kind of impact can one person in Iowa really have?
But that line of thought just isn’t true. There are more than 7 billion people on the planet today. When 7 billion people try to do more good, the impact is huge–but it won’t happen if too many people think their small, individual actions won’t count.
So, the headlines seem scary and it’s hard to know what to do. But you don’t need to feel like only grand gestures can make a difference. You can still make a measurable impact without feeling like you need to start a nonprofit, or run for office, or give up your car in favor of a bike, or never eat meat again.
Whether you have a soft spot for homeless pets of a personal connection to veteran’s affairs, there are things you can do.
You don’t have to worry about if you are supporting the “right” or “most worthy” cause; you just have to do something.
The list below from the Iowa City Mom’s Blog team is “a few easy ways to do some good.” Again, small gestures can have a huge, huge impact, no matter what your monetary budget or amount of free time is.
Easy Ways to Do Good in the World
-Get involved in local politics. It will be a change you can see. Bring your kids along to the polling place so they can see civic duty in action.
-Shop at local farmers’ markets to conserve fuel from transportation and to support your local economy.
-Vote with your dollars. Buy from companies that support causes you care about, like ethical fashion companies that are minimizing their impact on environment and supporting developing communities.
-Stand up for someone being bullied. Teach your kids early on to stand up to bullies at school.
-Keep a stash of blank cards at home and mail notes to friends and family “just because.”
-Be the constant that people can count on in a messy world. Be the reliable friend that sticks to your commitments and your word.
-Pass on your compliments instead of your criticisms. If you are thinking something nice about someone, just say it.
-Make a point to learn more about a culture or religion that you are unfamiliar with.
-Don’t waste your time with toxic, mean people that are unwilling to change. Life’s too short for that, and negativity is contagious. Kindness begets kindness.
-When you are Christmas shopping for your kids, buy two of one of the toys and give one to Toys for Tots. It might be the only opportunity for a child to experience getting a brand-new toy. Bring your own child along when you donate the toy so they can witness their impact.
–Call your representatives about issues you care about.
-Support the Little Free Libraries around town as your kids grow out of their books.
-Write a positive review for a local business.
-Thank your mail carrier or garbage collector for their hard work.
-Buy doubles at the grocery store and donate to your local food pantry.
-Give a Birthday in a Box so a child can have a birthday party even if their parents can’t afford it.
-Start a meal train for a friend that just gave birth or is recovering from an illness.
-Commit to meatless Mondays so that you can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions without committing to a fully vegetarian diet.
-Join the Teal Pumpkin project so that all kids can feel included during trick-or-treating.
-Make a DIY outdoor shelter so feral cats can stay warm during the winter.
-Send a care package to a veteran or active service member through Operation Gratitude.
-Get a group together and adopt a Head Start classroom to help early learners succeed.
-Never hide behind your computer and post nasty comments about someone or something on the Internet. You can be anything you want, but never be a cyberbully.
-Have a garage sale (or even better, a multifamily garage sale) and donate the money to a cause that you care about. Charities always need monetary donations so they can purchase exactly what items they know they need, but not everyone has it in their budget to do that out-of-pocket without raising some extra cash first.
Even one person can make a measurable difference. One person composting can prevent 20 pounds of food per month from going into the landfill. One person can donate a pint of blood during a 12 minute donation, and every two seconds someone in the US needs blood.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There are many, many other ways to help beyond what’s on this list.
Please drop your ideas in the comments to keep this list growing!