How to Change the World (Yes Seriously)
Young people have a powerful part to play in shaping the future of our world. How would you like to make a difference?
Climate change. Homelessness. Inequality. The world is full of problems that need fixing and it’s overwhelming, to say the least. You might have decided you want to change the world (or your corner of the world), but where the hell do you start? Well, for those amazing people hoping to shape our future world, we’ve broken it down into three, less intimidating, steps.
Step 1. What is it you want to change?
What do you feel passionate about? What makes you angry? What really gets you going? Really think about these questions. It’s important to focus your attention on one issue rather than using the scattergun approach. Once you know what that issue is, really get to know your field. You can do this by:
- Educating yourself. Knowledge is power, after all, so read books, follow social media accounts and read the news in order to keep up to date with the issue closest to your heart.
- Having confidence. Part of the game is simply having the confidence to pursue your goal. It’s all that schmaltzy stuff – believe in yourself and power stance your way to a better world.
- Talking to people. Share your thoughts with friends, family and people with similar interests. Talking things over should solidify your ideas about what you want to change and how you want to do it.
- Volunteering. More than just a way to “boost your CV”, volunteering is an amazing way to gain a deeper understanding of the issue you feel connected to.
Step 2. Start or join a campaign
A campaign is a planned set of activities designed to achieve social or political change and they’re a great way to raise awareness. The issue you feel strongly about might already have a campaign and in that case, it makes sense to join forces. Get involved, bring ideas, and ask how you can help. If the issue doesn’t yet have a strong campaign, think about starting your own. You’ll need to:
- Create a team and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Why not ask your mate with the freshest social media account to help with marketing. Or ask your grammar-obsessed Mum to proofread your mission statement.
- Start a petition. Petitions are a great way to demonstrate how many people are behind your cause. After 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from government and after 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament. Start one here.
- Focus on action. Make sure your campaign has a clear aim. Do you want people to contact their local MP? Are you fundraising and looking for people to donate money? Do you want them to participate in an upcoming vote? Whatever it is, make sure the people you’re campaigning to, are clear on what the action is.
- Scream and shout about it. We hear a lot about the perils of living in an internet age, but for the sake of changing the world, the internet is your best friend. Once you have a campaign, it’s time to get busy on social media, with writing a blog, submitting articles to newspapers and asking for airtime on your local radio.
Step 3. Contact your MP
The whole point of an MP is to represent the interests of the people living in their constituency. Therefore, MPs want to hear your thoughts. Write to them – or even better – ask to meet to discuss your ideas for change. Before contacting them, make sure you know what it is your asking for. Whether you’re you want them to back your campaign or you simply want to draw attention to a local issue, plan what you’re going to say. And if you don’t hear back immediately, follow up a couple of weeks later. Persistence is key in this game! How to contact:
- By phone. To call your MP’s office at The House of Commons, call 020 7219 3000 and ask to be put through to their office, giving your MP’s name. To call your MP at their local constituency, look up their number using this directory.
- Write to them either with a good, old fashioned, pen and paper or via email. Send letters to House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or look up their email address using the same directory as above.
- Attend an MP’s surgery. Most MPs hold regular sessions called surgeries where they meet constituents to talk about issues of concern. Check your MP’s website for information about upcoming surgeries and contact their office to find out whether you need an appointment.
- More information about contacting your MP can be found here.
Young people have a huge part to play in changing the world for the better. After all, it’ll be you in leadership positions in a few years time. So empower yourself, learn how the world is changing and help to create a future you want to be part of.
Read our article on how to have your voice heard on climate change.
Updated on 14-Mar-2019
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