Right now one thing is abundantly clear: The world could use a little more peace, love, and understanding. There is suffering to be eased; there are wrongs to be righted. If you read the daily headlines and wish someone could just step in and make things better, we have good news: Someone can—and you already know just the woman for the job.
Inside you there’s a mighty activist, even if you’ve never owned a bullhorn or chained yourself to an oil rig. To be an activist, all you have to do is exercise your power to, yes, act. You can be a force for good whether you’re helping a neighbor, raising your voice, or calling attention to a problem in need of a solution.
Every person can make a difference, and no deed is too small to matter. Consider the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which is commonly used to refer to acts of kindness or the pursuit of social justice. The Hebrew phrase translates to “repair the world”—not revolutionizing or reinventing, just repairing: putting the world back together a little at a time, each of us, every single day.
Helping repair the world is your mission, should you choose to accept it. And we know you will.
Compliment Friends and Strangers
Try praising a new person each day for a month.
Whether you’re in the market for an oil change or a bottle of Merlot, think about where you’re directing your dollars. Can you find a woman- or minority-owned retailer? Or can you opt for a small business over a chain? Challenge yourself to do all your shopping this way for a week—or a month.
Talk Politics Productively
The initiative , founded by Bay Area friends Justine Lee and Tria Chang in the wake of the 2016 elections, encourages citizens with different viewpoints to sit down and respectfully listen to one another’s opinions over a nice lasagna. For details on hosting an evening of your own, download the instruction guidance.
Keep Your Kids’ Vaccinations Up-to-Date
Friends don’t give friends whooping cough.
Browse for Worthy Causes
Download a charitable web browser extension like , which uses ad revenue to donate to a partner nonprofit of your choice every time you open a new tab.
Switch to Tubeless Toilet Paper
Unless you’re super crafty, you won’t miss those cardboard cylinders—and neither will the planet.
Support Your Local Women’s Shelter
Donate new bras, which are always in short supply. Menstrual products are another high-demand item (for every box of its tampons you buy, will donate a box of pads to a homeless shelter), as are hair products suitable for different textures. And don’t forget books and board games for the kids.
Know Your Neighbors
Only about 20 percent of the population do—down from nearly 30 percent since the 1970s—and research has linked social connection with decreased depression and even a longer life.
Someone has to have a bandage, a pain reliever, a safety pin, floss—why not you? The Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit contains all of these, plus double-sided tape, nail polish remover, and more must-haves.
Eat Your Leftovers
It’s estimated throw away 15 percent of the food they buy each year—enough to feed millions of people. Plus, all that trash produces loads of greenhouse gases. Not sure when it’s time to toss? tells you how long to safely keep thousands of products.
Plant an Herb, Vegetable, or Flower Garden
Everyone wins: The plants produce environmentally beneficial oxygen, you reap the meditative rewards of gardening, and you can savor the fruits of your labor—or gift them to friends and family.
Give Away Your Unwanted Stuff
Put your goods on ad-posting sites and apps for free, so someone who actually needs them can have them at no charge.
Become an Organ Donor
About 95 percent of adults are in favor of organ donation, but only 48 percent are registered. You can sign up right now without leaving your couch, at and potentially save eight lives—the number of vital organs you likely have to offer.
Turn off the lights, turn off the water. Unplug your devices when not in use.
Admittedly, this is one still in the process of learning , but in a world where we are running out of resources almost as fast as we can identify them, unplugging our appliances at night saves an incredible amount of power (phantom power accounts for 10 percent of all household energy outputs). If you turn your shower off while you’re shaving, or letting your conditioner set, you can save a lot of water. Think about what that can add up to.
Adopt a rescue.
If you’re ready to get a pet, and have thought about all the variables, please consider adopting from a rescue agency. Don’t forget that rescue agencies often have different kinds of animals other than cats and dogs, (like rabbits, or hamsters, or lizards) which can be even more difficult to find homes for. If the time is right, consider directly saving a life.
Reconsider your consumption.
Like meat? Don’t want to give it up? Can you give it up for just a day? Just a day per week without meat has been shown to be of great benefit, in terms of animal lives saved, and the environmental toll it can take.
Eating them sometimes as often as three times a week—they were my ideal comfort food. While chose the organic, humanely-raised options; our society’s demand for meat just isn’t environmentally sound.
Share a meal.
Making a meal for, and breaking bread with someone, is an intimate way of getting to know people, and it fosters a deep-running sense of community. Can you invite a friend over for dinner? Host a monthly potluck?
Clean our space.
We are all a part of this world. Our bedrooms were a reflection of our mental space, several years away. Cleaning our spaces helps us feel that much lighter. See what you are able to do from that refreshed space. Honor yourself and your own surroundings just as you would someone else’s.
It’s hard if we’re working a full time job and have kids, or are struggling through the depths of winter, or have just dealt with a scarring break-up, but the world asks us to participate. Stay open to the cues and see what we might have to offer the world. If we think something needs to be changed, write a letter, start a petition, do more direct activism—whatever we can do can help.
This one is a bit loaded, understand. Most of us can’t quite understand what it’s like to be living on the street, unsure of where our next meal or shelter is going to come from, and in urban centres the rate of homelessness is rising. It can be difficult and hard to resist a place of judgement when every third or fourth person we encounter in your walk to work asks us for change, but that is why we must resist judgement. If you feel uncomfortable giving money, consider buying food, or in winter, donating or giving your extra or mismatched winter clothing away.
If you need to/want to get away and your only option is a resort, there are more environmentally friendly ones out there. Find ones which are transparent about their environmental practices, and support those. If you don’t “do” resort vacations, consider how your mode of travel impacts the environment and try to mitigate that. We know of someone who plants a tree whenever they take an airplane, but if we all try and do what we can to offset our carbon footprint, it can only be of benefit.
Check your community.
Does your social network include lots of different people? Elders? People of different ethnicities? People who identify as trans* or with different sexualities? Friends and the people see on a regular basis are all of age group. State this not to “tokenize” any group at all, but simply to state that the more varied our communities are, the more we are able to understand and communicate with each other.
Plant a (bee-friendly) garden.
Some choices of bee-friendly plants that you barely need to pay attention to? Lavender, sage, some roses. Bees are in trouble and they could use any help you can give, in offering “pollination stops.” Even if you don’t want to help pollinate plants, your own garden can give you vegetables, herbs, and fruit to eat and is just a good alternative to buying from a supermarket. If you don’t have the space for a garden, yet this idea interests you, you could try community garden or plot sharing.
Give a Compliment
Tell someone that you care about them by complimenting them. It can be a big compliment or a small one. The point is that you share what good you see in them. That will help them develop confidence and a stronger sense of self.
There’re many reasons why doing voluntary work is good for you. Find a good cause you care about and give your time to it. Serve in some way. Volunteering transforms your hard work into other people’s happiness. This is one of the most common acts of kindness that you can do.
Tibetan spiritual leader Dali Lama described the new generation as the generation of the 21st century and his own generation as belonging to the 20th century “You are the generation of the 21st century.”
He said that the generation of the 20th century had been witness to immense violence. “We can say that it was a century of violence. But the violence failed to create a better world.”
He called upon the new generation to aspire to make the world a better place, more peaceful and clean. “Such a world may not materialize in my lifetime but there is a possibility that it can be brought about if you actually resolve to do so,” he said.
“I do not see it and others of my generation may also not, but I will watch you either from heaven or hell to see what you have made of this world,” he told.
“I am confident that things can be improved greatly as most of the problems are man-made and can be reduced if man wants to reduce them,” he added.
He recalled his days in Dehradun and Mussoorie in 1959 when he was staying at Mussoorie for a year after he came from Tibet as a refugee.
“After facing a lot of difficulties in the beginning of refugee life, I enjoyed my stay in Mussoorie -I was very happy there. But in 1960, not out of my own choice, I had to shift to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh which was very isolated in those days.”
“We preferred Mussoorie, but the Government of India said that Mussoorie was only a temporary arrangement.”
He said that what impressed him greatly when he came to India was the tradition of non-violence and religious tolerance and harmony.
“I felt that I should propagate this tradition and highlight the concept of Ahimsa. In today’s world, destruction of your neighbor would mean your own destruction, considering the global economy.”
Talking about the need for keeping one’s mind calm, he said that a calm mind leads to good physical health. Greed, ambition and worry all transform into anger. A healthy mind is a key factor for physical health. I want to show you my own face, I am almost 77 years old but am quite healthy,” he said with a beaming smile.
“Anger is blind energy and destroys one’s judgement. Buddhism and Hinduism both talk a lot about mind control and we should try to practice this,” the Dalai Lama said.