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Can we really change the world?

This opinion piece is about 10 years old

Kirstie Shirra, freelance writer and campaigner, and a director of Take One Action film festival on how to use our passion to change the world.

Kirstie Shirra
Kirstie Shirra

As the challenges we face both locally and globally seem to be mounting up and belts are being pulled ever tighter, it is hard not to have some doubts about whether our attempts to save the world, or even our own little bit of it, can actually make a difference.

I can find it all too easy to become overwhelmed when working on issues such as climate change as the “we’re all doomed” statistics around temperature increases and sea level rises stack up. Knowing that we only have a few years left to halt the runaway train that is climate chaos before it causes impacts both catastrophic and irreversible, can certainly dent one’s hopes and optimisim for the future. And I count myself lucky to campaign on issues of climate and international development for a living; for most people any world saving activities have to be squeezed into the daily routine, something that can often be difficult to find the time or energy for amidst long working hours, childcare and chores.

So does this mean we should all just give up? Accept that we are burnt out and a bit disillusioned? I really hope not.

We need to look more at how we try to save the world as well as the why

To me it just means we need to look more at how we try to save the world as well as the why. We need to find ways to match our actions to the lives we lead, to accept the practical realities of our busy days and look for new ways to engage.

And we need to find ways to make it fun. Or, put another way, we need to consider how to change the world and stay human.

Possibly driven by our own needs, the team at Take One Action are organising a weekend to explore just this. The idea is to bring together like-spirited peers, social-change experts and creative campaigners in the lovely setting of Comrie Croft, mix in some good food, movies and music, and chat about how we sustain our wellbeing in our desire for a better world.

With sessions on Connecting With Our Motivations, Visioning Change, Creativity in Action, Justice With Joy and Truth-telling With Care and inspirational folk such as songwriter Karine Polwart, transformative change facilitator Verene Nicolas, Take One Action’s artistic director Simon Bateson, Christian Aid Scotland head Kathy Galloway, Mike Small of The Fife Diet, and Rebecca McQuillan from the Herald, this weekend will hopefully prove a good start to discovering how we use our passion to change the world and stay human.

How to Change the World and Stay Human is taking place on 14-16 March.