How Can I Make a Positive Impact?
In our current reality, plagued by injustice and climate emergency, we can get discouraged and forget our capacity to imagine and enact a better world, for every sentient being. If you have felt paralyzed or don’t know where you can start to make an impact, we are right there with you.
As part of our involvement in Fashion Revolution, a movement to build a fashion industry that values people and the planet, and as a brand aiming to make retail a force for good, we also get overwhelmed with the huge task of having a positive impact on people and the planet. What we have realized is that our worries, feelings of smallness and need to enact change perfectly, can actually bring us down. That’s why our current approach is to make progress over trying to achieve perfection.
In this blog, we will share strategies that have helped us as a company and on a personal level to find our way and do good.
How do I find my place?
One way to start your journey towards making a positive impact is by knowing yourself, what you care about and what skills you can bring to the cause that’s closest to your heart. Here we share two tools you can use to do just that.
The first one is Dr. Ayanna Elizabeth Johnson’s Venn Diagram. Dr. Johnson is a marine biologist and policy expert who used to co-host the podcast How to Save a Planet. In one of the episodes, she shared the model below to figure out what you, as a unique individual, can do to bring forth a more sustainable future. Her Venn Diagram asks you to think about what brings you joy, what skills you have, and what needs to be done.
Let’s say you enjoy embroidering and are good at it. And that in your community there is a need for safe spaces where youth can connect. You could establish accessible embroidering circles and classes where they can talk and build relationships, while they learn a new skill.
The second one is a framework that can guide you to understand where you can best be of service. This is what Deepa Yer’s The Social Change Ecosystem Map is great for.
Her approach gives you the tranquility that you do not have to do or be everything to enact change. The framework helps you find what role you could be best suited for, by knowing what your skills are. She created ten categories to choose from and makes sure you understand you can be more than one.
As an example, let’s say you are the kind of person that’s always connecting people and that there is in your community a high rate of old people who suffer from loneliness and also a high rate of single parents who can’t afford daycare. With your Weaver qualities, you could connect the manager of the nursing home with a group of mothers who need help with their children. This way, some days during the week when they need daycare, they can drop off their children at the nursing home to be looked after by the seniors.
You can find the full guide of questions that can lead to finding your path here.
Once you know what cause you care about and what skills you have to offer, the next step we recommend is reaching out to the people already doing the work. In our case, we care a lot about creating enjoyable working conditions and making sure we are doing our best so our team maintains a balanced life. But we wanted to do more, so we reached out to organizations like NAMI and HeadsUPGuys to see how we can best be of service to the community at large.
You can find grassroots organizations or individuals doing the work by asking around in your community or by doing an internet search. There are also platforms that help people find where to volunteer like VolunteerMatch, Idealist, All We Can Save, and Patagonia Action Works.
You can also donate or fundraise for a cause of your choosing. Or support a bill that advocates for the changes you want to see in the world at a legislative level, as well as contact your representatives about the issues you most care about.
Being inspired by what other people are doing to build a better world is essential to fuel you into action. This has been true for us, which is why we want to share a few of resources that could help you on your journey:
- How to Save a Planet is a show about climate change that actually leaves you energized, by showing solutions already on the way.
- Conscious Chatter is all about digging into the issues of the fashion industry and interviewing brands and experts working to make it better.
- The Man Enough Podcast is about how to engage in a vulnerable and open way in the world, whilst being a man.
- Art of Citizenry is a podcast about decolonizing storytelling and fashion.
- Disruptors for GOOD is all about social entrepreneurs disrupting our current system.
- All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, is an anthology of women lead initiatives edited by Dr. Ayanna Johnson.
- The Responsible Company and Let my People Go Surfing by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard, are two books to inspire you to lead with social and environmental impact in mind.
- Tools for Grassroots Activists by Nora Gallagher and Lisa Myers.
- Slow Fashion, by Safia Minney, is a book to learn about how fashion can have a different rhythm and be a part of the solution.
- Consumed by Aja Barber on how we got here in terms of fast fashion and disposability, and what we can do about it.
- The Slow Factory series of talks by Open Edu, offer education on sustainability and social justice with a range of topics like fashion, beauty, regenerative agriculture.
- The True Cost, is a documentary about Fast Fashion.
We want to hear from you
Is there any cause you are passionate about? Are there any podcasts or videos that inspire you to make a change? Are you working on any initiative with a positive impact? We would love to keep learning with you.
Please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for upcoming posts.
We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
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