Every April, Postconsumers is as loud and as active as anybody when it comes to promoting Earth Day and the philosophies and ideals behind Earth Day. In fact, throughout the year you’ll see Postconsumers (both the entity and the individuals who identify as Postconsumers) involved in all types of activism – from online to real time marches and events. And we applaud and even recommend that people participate in loud, attention-getting activism. But if you really want to change the world, you need to find a balance between activism and daily activity. One is not enough. Why do you need to find both and what’s our best tip for achieving that goal? Of course we’ve devoted this entire blog to it!
Activism: The Loudest Voice is Often the One That Gets Heard
We know that in real life it’s not always the loudest voice that gets heard and you certainly should not take this headline to indicate that it is advice for daily or interpersonal communications! But in a world crowded with media, special interest groups, lifetime politicians, social media and a twenty-four hour news cycle, you really do have to be loud to be heard. That’s why actual activism is so important. The sound (virtual or real) of a thousand voices is louder than that of a single voice, and a million voices is even better. If we don’t work together to advance and raise awareness about the cause or causes that are important to us, nobody will hear about them. We may wish this weren’t true, but it is.
Unfortunately, particularly in the Postconsumer movement (and to a degree in the environmental movement as well), many of the people who are the most passionate about the philosophy and cause are also the least likely to want to get involved with a protest, large petition or activism group or event. This is because most Postconsumers are striving to find the satisfaction of enough, and that comes with a certain degree of simplicity and calm implied. Getting involved in combative controversy and debate, even at the mildest and calmest levels, simply isn’t in the DNA for many on the Postconsumers journey. And we can understand that mindset. In fact, there are some days when we have that mindset. But it doesn’t make participating in some kind of activism optional. In fact, it’s a necessary part of changing the world or the way the world thinks. So if you are a Postconsumer who doesn’t participate in the activism element of the movement, scroll down to the end of this article for our best tip on finding a healthy and easy balance.
Your Daily Activity: Always Practice What You Preach (to the Best of Your Ability)
Of course, we’ve all come across the other kind of “activist” in our lives. The kind who is at every rally and is always the loudest voice in the room but who doesn’t really practice what he or she preaches in real life. More often than not, when asked about this, the response from the party in question is that the impact of one person’s lifestyle changes won’t really have an effect on anything. But this is so far from true! The entire point of rallying to a cause and participating in activism around it is to slowly change the actions of people one at a time. Then, over time, the impact of those actions adds up and you start to see the real wave of change. What you do in your own life, individually, absolutely matters.
Beyond that, particularly in this era of social media, the power behind your message and your cause gets entirely negated when you’re “caught” not living the lifestyle you encourage others to live. It only takes one picture on Facebook or Instagram to turn any progress you’ve made encouraging others to take things seriously and change their lifestyle from inspirational to hypocritical. That doesn’t mean that you always need to be perfect or that you have to be 100% “living the life.” Most life changes, including postconsumerism, are a journey. Just be aware that you can’t advocate for one thing loudly and then live your life an entirely different way.
Our Best Tip for Making Sure You’ve Covered Both Halves of the Whole
So what’s the best way to ensure that you’re finding a balance between the activism that may not be natural to you and the daily living that can be hard to keep on point? The key is always to start small and build up. If you are a person who doesn’t participate in activism frequently, we recommend this mix: commit yourself to just one event every six months and one online petition per month (you can almost always find a good one at Change.org). And if six months seems too frequent, commit to one a year. However, if you’re not doing at least one thing that counts as activism per year, we have to say that you may not be doing enough. Your voice is as important as the choices that you make.
In terms of daily living, adopt the same policy. Pick one thing that you can do to change and stick to it. If it’s rejecting impulse purchases or commiting to a budget, do that. If it’s responsibly recycling, do that. The best way to build habits is to start slow instead of being overwhelmed by the breadth of things.
All things in life require a balance. That includes changing the world! Make sure that you’ve found your balance between a loud voice and a satisfied life!
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