What they do …

10. Ruth

When I asked Ruth to write something for my blog, I knew I was in for a special treat!
I’ve known Ruth since high school and she has always been an activist. She is one of those inspiring people you just need in your life to be able to keep believing in a better world, keep on dreaming and keep on fighting. During high school, Ruth was already involved with Amnesty International. She made me aware of a lot of environmental problems and social issues and most of all, she liked me for who I was and therefore, was a good friend!

A while ago, we ‘found’ each other again on Facebook and since then, I’ve seen her do so much awesome ‘better world’-stuff (like biking 2000 km for kids with a muscle disease). It’s good to have her back in my life, albeit without her green, spiky hair. 😉

In her letter, she first describes being hesistant about writing about ‘doing good stuff’, a feeling I recognize. Every blog post is a struggle to try to inspire people without having them think you’re bragging. That’s why my posts have these short ‘disclaimers’ at the end. I love how she adresses this problem!
After her intro, she gets to the point: action! So this time it’s not just an inspiring story to read and think about, but it’s all about doing something.
Enjoy her story!

 “10 days for a better world
Doing good is often said to be something soothing for our own conscience. Something we do to make ourselves feel better. It is not something you really do for others, is it? Too often this is said to people who are actually trying to make the better place. Too often this is used as an excuse to not do anything for others, or to get a rain check on being nice to another person, to an animal or to our planet, our universe.

When I was asked to write a blog about something I do to make this world a better place, I was hesitant at first. My view on what a better world is might differ from other people their ideas. My ideas on helpful actions might be a contradiction to what ‘actually needs to be done’, and can we really know how to make the world a better place even when we agree on what a better place is? People also might see this as a ‘look how good I am’- post. Something I definitely do not want.

But then I realized, isn’t it all too easy to accept this way of thinking and let it result in a defensive train of thoughts in order to justify our ways of trying to help out? Sure, I have made mistakes. I have unwillingly conducted discrimination and I have many prejudices when it comes to groups in our society. While wanting to protect the environment I have made mistakes that ended up causing harm to that very same environment and at times I am not aware of the results of and reactions to my actions.

All these little efforts accumulated, can make a big change to the way the world works.

In my opinion it is always better to take action than to just sit it out and wait what will happen. To stand up for another person that is the target of any kind of stigmatization or bullying, is not something to be ashamed of. It might actually put you in a less advantageous or even dangerous position. But it is something to be proud of. To try to have less impact on the pollution of the planet is not something leftists. It is something we should all do, no matter how small the effort is. All these little efforts accumulated can make a big change to the way the world works.

Luckily more and more people realize that doing good, in their own way, on their own terms, consistent with their own views, is something you just should do without being hesitant. Even if you make mistakes, even if your views are different from the next person.

I want to (re)start this challenge: 10 days for a better world.

A few years back, I wrote a blog about ’10 days for a better world’. I challenged others to join me in a queste to improve the world by small actions for 10 days in a row. Since I get the chance to reach new people, to reach another group of do-gooders, I hereby want to restart this little challenge. And yes, it is just a little challenge. It is just 10 days of small social actions. The 10 days is just a number of course. If you want to make that – like I try – into a life long habit, that is perfectly fine. I actually would appreciate that effort a lot! But why not start small, with just 10 days?

Now, I can’t challenge you, without joining this challenge myself. And since I try to incorporate the do-gooding in my daily lifestyle already, I will challenge myself a little extra, by making this challenge about an addition to my current lifestyle. I will not make it easy on myself by just blogging about the things I already do, I will try to find new ways and blog about these new ways.

post-ruth-inpost

Since you are reading this blog, you already got plenty of ideas that Renske shared with you over time. In order to give you some extra inspiration, I want to share some of the things I did during the ‘first’ 10 days and some of the things that I currently do. Since this blog is getting pretty long, I will list it down below, so if you need some inspiration, scroll allllll the way down!

So what if this makes me feel good too? Doing good can work both ways. And for me it certainly does. I can live in peace with myself and sleep at night. Yes, I always try to listen to suggestions to improve my own habits towards a better world. It helps me to improve my life and the lives of others along the way. I am far from perfect. I am far from being an enlighted soul. I am just a regular mortal trying to make the planet I live on a better place. So, are you with me?
Will you join this 10 days for a better world?”

Ruth & I will each take an extra step towards a better world every day, for the next ten days. Of course, we will give you an update after a couple of days and after the ten days are over, but more importantly: it would be awesome if you would join us! Just send us pictures, messages and keep us up to date during your ten days for a better world!

Inspiration List
– Share some of your wealth with others in unexpected ways. Create a goody bag with food and hygiene items for a drifter, donate 10% of your income to charity [see this blog post], buy a suspended coffee [see this blog post], invite someone who is lonely, for dinner …

– Surprise people you do not know with a compliment, by giving them a small item like a rose, or some of your time. Send someone who is not expecting it a postcard [see this blog post]. Share some of your time with someone.

– Take over some work of a colleague who may or may not be in need of some extra time for any reason. Have a fresh parent at the office? Work an extra hour to cover for his or hers. Is someone overloaded with work? Offer to do some of the annoying mind-numbing tasks she or he just doesn’t get around to.. you get the point. Be selfless.

– Sign an online petition, or maybe even a few, for a cause that you feel deserves your signature and your support [see this blog post].

– Go through your closet and donate your ‘old’ cloths to the Red Cross or another organization that puts these items to good use. And while you’re at it, why not see if you have any items around the house that you feel you do not need anymore and could make other people happy? [See this blog post]

– Hold the elevator for someone, hold the door for someone, help someone carry their groceries, show a little courtesy towards others, and do it with a smile. Trust me, it can make someone’s day.

– Help someone with your knowledge. Explain something to them, help them figure out a problem they have, introduce them to people who might be able to help them to reach their goals. Again. Be selfless. Do not think about what you might get in return, think about what you can mean to them.

– Pick up litter you find on the streets during your daily routine. Throw it away in the thrash. Shower shorter than you usually do, turn down the lights [see this blog post], close the doors when you are cold, turn the heater just a nudge down and put on a sweater If you eat meat, eat vegetarian for a day (or more) [see this blog post].
You know these things, but do you really do them? A perfect way to do some good.