Updated: Jun 25, 2020
In the past week, millions of people have stood together (both physically and metaphorically), united by the fight against racism across the globe. This was triggered by the cruel and inexcusable death of George Floyd as well as many more people of ethnic minority groups. The decision that these people took to fight for the freedom of all will go down in history with the likes of Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela as it shows how powerful we can be, no matter what skin colour we have, if we put our minds to a worthy common cause.
”In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” - Angela Davis
Each and every one of us may only be one person, but we all have an impact on what our futures will be like, as well as the futures of generations to come. These battles for a better world, such as the Black Rights Matter movement, will all change how the future will play out. There are multiple ways that you can make the footprint you have on the world a more positive one.
Educate yourself on white supremacy
Racism is everywhere. As children we were taught that the peach colour pencil was skin colour. Without even knowing it as five year olds, we were pushing out people that did not have the original white 'British' skin tone. Racism has been ingrained in our minds from a young age, so no, no one is completely not racist, but you still can be anti-racist. We can no longer be simply not racist. That is not acceptable anymore. We have to fight racism in our daily lives rather than be simply neutral about it. As a British, white girl from a privileged area, I still have a lot to learn, and I will never be able to fully comprehend what it is like to be a person of colour, but I stand with them all the same. I certainly want to educate myself more this summer after my exams are over. If you want to learn more from a white person's perspective, Unjaded Jade has made a honest and well-put video on racism. She has also tagged lots of resources in her description too.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Take action and make your voice heard in your local community
Putting pressure on governments to take more action on important matters is a brilliant way to get your voice heard in your local community. Fighting these issues on a local level will increase the chances of the action rippling nationally and possibly globally. Take Greta Thunberg for example. She began striking for our climate alone on her first day, was then joined by other youth activists on the second day and now her action has turned into a powerful, global movement. People across the world are demanding governments to fight climate change or children will not go to school, as what is the point in having an education if there is not a future to use it in?
"My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. Yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering." - Greta Thunberg at the UN Summit in New York
Write to your MP about an issue that matters to you
Talking to your local MP can boost the possibility of your idea being listened to by multiple MPs and hopefully parliament. It is often worth trying to talk to an MP on their own terms so that they may be more inclined to listen, but if that does not work, then protest and shout it from the rooftops that you are not going to stop fighting until justice has been served.
"This is a critical time, we need to keep up the momentum to ensure the Government puts in place policies that get us on track to slash our emissions." - The Climate Coalition
Revaluate your diet
Zoonotic diseases, such as COVID19 and Ebola, are spread from animals to humans. The UN Environment Program stated that large amounts of close contact with certain animals (such as that of farmers and their livestock) allows pathogens to jump between species. It has now been identified that if we continue to destroy natural ecosystems for farming, we could have another disaster on our hands.
"Some politicians and commentators blame China for Covid-19, but they do not mention that all of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals and their habitats, our chicken salad or pepperoni pizza could be the next big health risk." - Dr. Gemma Newman
Reducing your intake of animal products also has many health benefits (e.g. vegans have up to a 50-78% lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes). Reducing preventable, diet related diseases, means the NHS would become more stable and would be able to treat patients with unpreventable diseases with the best quality care while having more time on its hands.
"It is unacceptable that the NHS is collapsing under the weight of chronic disease, the majority of which could be prevented and treated by addressing diet and lifestyle factors." - Dr. Alicja Baczynska to Plant Based News
Talk, just talk
Without actively talking about an issue, nothing will change. If you to talk to everyone you know about this problem with research and facts to back you up, they will hopefully understand your perspective and will help you change things. Surfers Against Sewage was set up in 1990 by a group of Surfers who were sick of our water being contaminated by sewage. Now, 30 years later, this movement has now become national and includes Plastic Free Communities, Schools, Education and campaigns against sewage and single use plastic.
"Plastic pollution has sadly become synonymous with all of our favourite coastal activities - from surfing to swimming, beach holidays to wildlife watching - it is simply an expected part of our experience. But one that we should not, and do not, accept." - Surfers Against Sewage
There you have it! Some of my ideas on how we can change the world as individuals. I hope that you may take on some of them.