Social Responsibility

These days we teach kids in school to turn off the lights at home, not let the water run while they brush their teeth, to recycle and even compost.

I remember my first encounter with the idea that I, as little as I was, had a responsibility to protect the environment. That my actions had an impact on the world. When I was in 6th grade, the recycling movement was still a new thing and we had a lecture given to us about it. I remember feeling terrible that my parents didn’t make any effort to recycle. For months, I screamed at them for throwing away soda cans in the trash.

If you’re a millennial like me, you can probably relate.

We’ve been told all our lives that the world is fucked up and we are the ones that need to do something about it because our children’s future (if not our own) depends on it.

They say when there is a will, there is a way.

Few of us would ever say that they don’t care about the tragic destruction of our planet. Most young people (and a lot of old too!) have a tremendous will to do better than previous generations. Although the will is there, the way is as elusive as ever if you don’t look outside what the mainstream tells you.

I mean, what power do we have when multinational corporations and governments are bffs?

We’ve all read this on social media:

“The earth is 4.6 billion years old. Let´s scale that down to 46 years. Using this analogy, humans have been here on this planet just 4 hours. Our industrial revolution began just one minute ago. And in that meager 60 seconds, we have already destroyed more than 50% of the world´s forests.” (TrueActivist.com)

It looks so grim that it’s almost hopeless. What can one person do? Between our 9-5 jobs, kids, friends and what else, the little time we have would never be enough to make any difference, would it?

Better read gossip on Facebook and enjoy life if we’re all going to crumble soon.

It’s not our fault anyway, we can’t control what big corporations do.

We do our best, we vote, don’t we?

We aim to drive Teslas or take the bus, recycle and buy composting bins for our backyards.

The most zealous of us try a minimalist lifestyle with emphasis on “zero waste”.

The scope of our reach seems so limited that we get stuck in the status quo. Our lives are not directly impacted so why should we strive to do more and more importantly to find out how to do more.

Believing that we have no control, no power, is the number 1 reason so much wrong is happening in this world.

Apathy is the poison that is plaguing all of us.

I say, it’s time to bring back the concept of social responsibility to an individual level. It’s a term you may or may not be familiar with. It’s usually used in reference to corporations.

Here’s what it is in a nutshell:

“Social responsibility means eliminating corrupt, irresponsible or unethical behavior that might bring harm to the community, its people, or the environment before the behavior happens.” Naomi Enevoldson – Social Entrepreneur

So I’ve been on this journey of discovering my own desire to be more socially responsible for the past few years.

I still don’t have all the answers. I mean if I did, or if anyone did, then the world would already be saved.

My point is, we shouldn’t stop trying to find an answer. We need to start applying the concept of social responsibility to ourselves first and encourage others to do the same.

The world needs more activists.

Go be one. Day in and day out.

Who’s with me?

*Picture credit Dave Gingrich Creative Commons 2.0

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