Part Three of You in The Community: You Can’t Be Greta Thunberg… Or Can You?

If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you probably saw at least one post or response to Greta Thunberg’s memorable and blunt reaction to UN leaders at the Climate Action Summit 2019. However, if you were living under a rock (I know I sometimes am), here is the link.

I am not here to discuss climate change, whether or not you like Greta or her message. Regardless of what she said, the truth is that she created global conversations. What I am here to discuss is the impact that Greta had on global conversation and how we can reflect on this to be better as community resilience developers.

The last post (Part Two of You in The Community) was about how you can create change in your more immediate communities that is resilient and meaningful. Remember the graph? I copied it below, so you can take another look. As we move outside of the “You” circle into the greater community, beyond the state, it’s evident that creating change becomes more complex. Many of us don’t have the platform of Greta Thunberg… so what do we do? Can we do anything?

I think we can. We can do this by asking ourselves two questions that Greta had clearly asked herself. 1. Where am I? 2. What is being ignored? Greta saw the platform she was being given and addressed a need that was neglected. Although, I know that we can’t all speak in front of the UN, we can still answer these questions. Answering them can give a sense of clarity, which often gives you more opportunity and success. If someone knows what you stand for or what your skills are, they may be more inclined to work with you or invest in you. So let’s clear up your impact goals below!

With this in mind, I invite you to:

The Impact Challenge

Instructions:

Split a paper in half and write each question below on each side of the paper. Write at least 3-4 bullet points for each half of the paper (more is better!)

Questions:

Where am I? So… you can take this literally, but I mean it more allegorically. You have an ability here to reflect and examine your resources. Greta sees the resources she as a youth leader. So, where are you in life- do you have a family? Are you a student? Do you have any leadership qualities?

This general question should make you just take an objective look at who you are and what you can offer. If you live in an international city or a more affluent country, you may have more access to global programs. However, with internet being the main mode of information distribution, truly anyone can add to the conversation with access to the internet. For example, I am a mid 20’s female American of Russian descent, who is working and pursuing more education in a relatively large city (Seattle). I can offer: time, cultural perspective, ability to research, create programs and to share what I know or learn. Hence, The Sunflower Project? 🙂

What is being ignored? This question is probably the more crucial and difficult one. This may require some research, or you may instinctively have a cause in mind that is being ignored. It can be important to focus on neglected areas or topics, because these are often where the greatest impact can occur. For example, as we talked about in the disaster recovery post, Often, the greatest impact can happen when we shed a spotlight on something that others are too fearful of discussing. Something I try to discuss, which can often be uncomfortable and controversial, is Russian-American relations, which are at an all-time low. This issue is often ignored, but if no one takes responsibility for beginning peaceful conversations, how will they start?

Another reason something is being ignored could be because the cause isn’t “glamorous” enough. For example, increased academic test scores for children in Africa has been a result of a worldwide de-worming initiative. Specialists found that it wasn’t because students were lacking books or uniforms… or even teachers. It was because they were too sick and hungry to come to school or pay attention. Deworming the World makes monumental strides in changing this and it doesn’t always look pretty. Therefore, take time to reflect on what needs attention, regardless of what others may think.

Did you do the assessment? What did you notice?

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