With the US presidential inauguration around the corner, you’re sure to see an influx of anger-fueled posts on your newsfeed, and you might even be tempted to get typing yourself. Sure you can spend a minute or two writing a status on Facebook or sharing a relevant post, but in the same amount of time, you can do something that might have a much greater impact.
Invite a friend who has a differing opinion or political leaning out for a coffee and a chat. While you’re together, try listening more than you speak. If you’re feeling like an argument is going to explode forth like that one time you ate a bad burrito, take a deep breath.
Make the commitment to ban plastic bags from your life. And if you keep forgetting the reusable bags you have stuffed in a drawer at home? Relish in the ‘I’m-going-to-drop-everything’ dance you have to do on the way to the car.
Say hello to the person sharing your elevator. Pop your phone in your bag, smile, and speak to the fellow human standing beside you.
Know an academic? Send them an encouraging message. These are the people who, often tirelessly and with little acclaim, are curing, fixing, learning, innovating and sharing on a daily basis.
Sign up for the Women’s march or one of the Sister marches. Join over one million people marching to champion human rights on the day of the inauguration. Cut up an old cardboard box and make a sassy sign.
Practice your ‘Are you okay?’ stance. Every one of us has encountered a man being physically or verbally rough or aggressive towards a woman in public. Grab your housemate and practice what you would do in this situation.
Don’t cook meat for dinner. With a climate change denier soon to be the president-elect, not having the steak for your evening meal (or giving it up for good) might not seem huge, but it’s all about change in the micro-moments.
Look at your trash. Go have a long, hard stare at all the rubbish you produce. Think about where it might end up. Think about its journey and how long it might be lingering around on the earth.
Whip out your credit card and buy a reusable coffee cup. If you drink the good stuff every day, your plastic consumption might be through the roof.
Spend two minutes practising what you should do if you witness islamophobic abuse. Start here.
Go and water your drooping plants. If even looking sideways at your houseplants turns them a nice crispy brown then go and water those oxygen-giving babies right now.
Write a Haiku instead. Why? Because it will get your creative juices flowing and might paint the world with an extra swipe of colour.
Sign up for the thing you have wanted to do for ages. Register to tutor refugees, cook for the local soup kitchen, or volunteer for that cool storytelling event. Sign up right now. It will probably only take you two minutes.
Go and lie under the stars for two minutes. Acknowledge your infinite universe. Watch for a shooting star. Scare passersby with your immobile body.
Find your sewing kit. Yeah, you know the one that is lurking around in a drawer somewhere. It’s probably in cahoots with your reusable bags. Try and commit to fixing things rather than purchasing something new. You don’t have to darn your socks Anne of Green Gables style- Just learn to fix small holes and loose buttons.
That lady in heels wobbling around like a baby giraffe on the subway- give her your seat. Also, don’t pretend not to see elderly or pregnant people.
Practice saying ‘That’s not funny’ over and over again. Have it ready for when someone tells a joke that is racist, misogynistic or discriminatory in any way.
Make a personal commitment to forgo fast fashion. You know the reasons. You’ve heard it all before. Quit the quick clothing fix. It’s one of the best things you can do for worldwide human rights and the environment.
Prepare a two-minute response for when someone says “That’s so gay”. Be firm and let them know that it is not okay to use the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way.
Support initiatives like Safe Schools Coalition Australia that aim at creating a safe schooling environment for LGBTQ+ young people.
Write a kind and supportive comment on someone’s status or shared post instead. Failing that, pop over to Humans Of New York and sprinkle a bit of empathy in the comment section.