It was January 1st and I was pretty happy with my new years' resolution. To do something altruistic, however small or large, as yet undefined, which will have a positive effect for some good cause. Suitably vague, no pressure then, now I just had to identify my cause. Plenty of time, l'll take a look.
Like many I have been concerned with the environment. I have read widely, whether scientific journals or opinion pieces. I had hoovered up every documentary on science or the natural world that I could and yet had never actually quite managed to get that involved. Greying temples, wasn't I a bit old for all this?
I had been suffering anxiety for some time. Anxiety at the state of the world. Anxiety at the un- caring attitude by leaders and businesses to our systematic destruction of the natural world. What could I do as just one person? It was hopeless. Or so I thought......
It was then that some mantras I had been reading started to take root. Change yourself, not the world. Act in things which are part of your daily life, then you will see the results. Lead by example. People may take note of what you are doing and choose to change as well. It is surprising how much is going on out there once you start to look. Just take that first step, have a peek on Facebook. Countless groups are all trying to make a difference in your local area.
The first meeting I attended was for Greenpeace. Sure I had heard of them. Rainbow Warrior is an lcon for me. Just take the time to read through their literature. All sorts of campaigns, all around the world, many are successful. My anxiety was starting to lower, yes you can make a difference!
So when the opportunity came up to take part in an action I thought yes why not. Sure there was a little bit of risk. Pasting posters on the entrance of a major supermarket, protesting at their terrible approach to plastic had its risks. Possible trespass? Possible criminal damage? Possible arrest? All unlikely but ultimately possible. But with Greenpeace the support is there, they are a friendly and considered bunch. Detailed plans are there for co-ordinated campaigns, detailed briefings on your legal risks, and the knowledge that you can rely on help if things do get a little awkward.
A little risk, well no pain no gain as they say. We went ahead and everything went smoothly and was a great success. Nobody even noticed us. OK the posters don't stay up forever. The public see them, the staff at the supermarket see them. The reality that they want to take them down, means that they have got the message. Maybe in time they will change the way they think too?
I will keep plugging away. I have already volunteered for other local projects but I think I will stick with Greenpeace. They know what they are doing. Maybe having grey hair is not a bad thing after all. It means you have gained the wisdom to know that you can make a difference after all, and I will!