Yes We Can. Simple Ways You and I Can Make a Difference.

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Some people naturally care about their community, the environment and other people. For others, like myself, this caring does not come so naturally despite knowing that we should care. We need a little push to help us take action. If this is you, I would like to share some very simple ideas that will not only helps others and the environment, but also help you.

Recently I completed a driving test to attain my Canadian driver’s license. When I received my license in the mail soon after, I also received a request to sign up as an organ donor. I wasn’t an organ donor back in Australia, I guess because when I was initially given the option at age 17 (when I received my Australian driver’s license) I didn’t really care that a simple decision on my part could save the life of another human being.

Anyway, with my new outlook on life I have realized that being an organ donor is one simple way I can potentially make a difference in the world. After all, my organs aren’t much worth to me if I’m dead, right? Now if you don’t like the thought of being an organ donor, or you have some other reason not to be, that’s cool. There are many other ways we can each make a difference.

Before I go on, though, I want to make clear here that I am certainly not perfect, and there are some things in this article that are “to do” rather than “am doing”. If nothing else, writing this article has helped me by providing the little push I needed to take one small piece of action. Also, I would be very interested to hear your responses in the comments as to anything I may have missed. After all, we is truly greater than me.

First Aid

I just mentioned there is something I have been meaning to do for some time, and this is it. As a parent, I have actually been feeling guilty that I have little to no first aid knowledge. Yesterday, however, I registered for first aid training in the middle of March. It is not just parents, though, who will benefit from receiving first aid training. You just never know when a situation may arise where you having knowledge of first aid could prove the difference between a happy ending and a tragedy.

Donate

This is one thing I was doing back in Australia that I have stopped doing since the move to Canada. Perhaps this is because money has been a bit tight, but when I think about it there is always someone in more need than you and I.

If you would like to get some ideas for what charities need a hand, try:

As an alternative to giving money, you could donate household goods you don’t use any more, or you could also consider donating your time…..

Volunteer

One of my successes in 2007 was to start volunteering on a regular basis. I volunteer for an organization that helps to provide men with suitable attire for interviews and work (the male equivalent of “Dress For Success” if you have ever heard of it). To be honest, I still often find it hard to motivate myself to go. But once I am there I really enjoy myself. The men that come in must have a referral, which means that they have already taken the first step in helping themselves. And anyone who has ever volunteered will know that it leaves you feeling very good about yourself.

Stay Informed

Is ignorance bliss? Probably. But I, for one, choose the red pill that has me staying informed and in search of the truth. This does not mean you have to consume copious amounts of that garbage that passes for “news”. I like to use filters (such as Reddit or even simply other people) and then do my own reading into topics that are of interest or importance to me. And if you are well informed on an important issue, take it upon yourself to help inform others.

Vote

These days it is easy to take the right to vote for granted. But when you reflect on the struggles that people in the past have been through to attain this right, and the fact that still there are many people worldwide who don’t even have it, you begin to understand its significance and importance. So I strongly suggest not taking your right to vote for granted (yes, I have been guilty of this one in the past).

Then again, if your inclination was to vote for Bush maybe you could do more good by not voting.

Be Green

No, I’m not an environmental fanatic. I do believe, however, we could all treat Mother Earth a bit (hang on, make that A LOT) better. Here are a few things that Kathryn and I do: often use modern cloth diapers (that is our son Xavier to the right modeling one of his), share one car between us, recycle, eat certain organic foods (we can’t afford to buy everything organic), and very recently we purchased some energy efficient light bulbs.

Be Happy

Finally, don’t underestimate the difference simply being happy can make. If you want to see some really happy people, check out the self-proclaimed “happiest blog in the world”: Smiles That Make My Day (found courtesy of Al from 7P Productions).

Photo by nosha