One Year: 365 steps towards a warmer society

Christmas is less than a month away, and maybe you already started the treasure hunting for gifts? Did you ever consider what happens when you push the “order” button on Amazon or eBay, or how your local stores get all the nice stuff produced abroad?

Through a global spiderweb of infrastructure ensuring that whatever from wherever can safely be supplied and delivered on time, regardless of where in the world the producer and buyer are based, you’re accessing products from the entire world from your PC or local shop. And you don’t even think about it.

But if one link in the chain is messed up, it affects the next link, and if the mess isn’t sorted out, ultimately it affects you on the other side of the world. The chain is also affected and impacted by a range of external factors, such as wars, changes in political leadership, regionalization, development, urbanization and protectionism. Not to mention climate change and migration. 

Every day this remind me of how interconnected our world truly is, and how the patterns of our own small lives and local societies are very similar to this global infrastructure of freight. It reminds me that no company, no human being, city nor country can exist on its own. And how our actions impact others in a positive or negative way.

We may not always be aware of the ripple effects of our individual actions. Nor of how we as human beings are also affected by what happens thousands of miles from where we live. This makes us easily underestimate the potential damage each of us can cause through short-sighted prejudice, segregation and hatred in our daily lives. Would our world be a better place if we realized the interdependencies? And if we started focusing on how we each and every day can do something good – so that our year becomes more than a calendar; forming 365 steps for a better society.

I live by the philosophy of Ubuntu – sometimes translated as human kindness, easily explained as “I am who I am because of who we all are”. Our global community is interconnected for better and worse. We can see this as something limiting us; we are impacted by others and cannot take full control of our life, or get exactly what we want at all times, thus our actions don’t really count. 

Or we can realize the opportunity; no one can survive and thrive all alone, and that’s why we interact and build communities. To utilize each other’s capabilities, ensure that the most important needs of as many as possible are covered. 

Our individual efforts every day, is required to make our local society work. A higher number of well-functioning local societies makes countries work. A higher number of well-functioning countries makes a region work, and ultimately the world. This means that each and everyone of us create impact! 

Likewise, if we don’t support other countries that’s messed up, and nobody else does, shit will ultimately hit our fan. No borders nor trade embargos change this fact, and if we try to stick our head in a hole to avoid it, it won’t help much..

Fascism and Nazism are some ugly outcomes of what happens when enough people stop believing in their own ability to create impact and fix broken societies. When we resign and start blaming “outsiders” for our own lack of abilities to find solutions to our problems. Instead of using our frustration as a power to re-mobilize through constructive collaboration and hard work, we channel it out passive-aggressively, blaiming others without taking a step back to consider our part of the mess we’re in. It’s more convenient and much easier to complaining, than it is to do something ourselves…

Then we start looking for someone with a “quick fix”. The problem is that every good solution requires hard work and joint efforts. It’s not easy, and everyone won’t get exactly everything they feel entitled to or wish for, it requires some sort of sacrifice by all of us. 

But it’s better than giving up on our social and equal society project and handing the power over our lives and destinies to some guy with great skills for populistic marketing, building on people’s fear.

You and I play a role in creating the change that’s needed in the global community. 
And nobody defines that role for you; Do you want your role to be that of sharing and spreading fear, walls and giving up when faced by a challenge? Or do you want to take the role of tackling those challenges by looking for opportunities…

As one of the 7,452 billion human drops in the ocean, what’s your contribution – what do you do in your worklife and personal life to create change?

As my new year’s resolution for 2016, I chose a mission a bit of from the typical self-absorbing ones; #beachbody2016 #structuredlife2016 #savingsproject2016 #overachiever2016 etc, – and turned my perspective to something outside my own inner circle…

My project for 2016 was inspired by the Norwegian Prime Minister’s New Year’s speech to the Norwegian people addressing our individual responsibility to create a warmer society – an “everyday-inclusion” approach. So as one of 4,9 million people – a small drop in the ocean – what can you do? Which difference can you make? What kind of impact can you cause as one single person? My resolution was to test this proactively throughout the year. To do something contributing towards a warmer and more sustainable community every day – regardless of how small or insignificant it might seem.

I hope this can inspire others (you!!) to think creatively on your opportunities to impact. So here is my Christmas list of society-warming actionsas, hoping to inspire you to share your actions… Enjoy!

  1. Joining the Twitter debates – countering racism with facts
  2. Joining society debates on topics that cause injustice
  3. Inviting a refugee (family) over for dinner
  4. Having a meal and a smoke with a homeless
  5. Mentoring someone younger from a different cultural background
  6. Discussing the principles of sharing with my kid
  7. Donating speakers’ fees and board salary to a project in the Mediterranean
  8. Utilizing an unused storage area through lending it out for free to Refugees Welcome
  9. Helping people I don’t know who ask me for small favors or advise
  10. Having the kids go through their toys and pick out nice items to the kids who had to leave theirs when fleeing from their homes
  11. Talking to people on the bus, tram and other public places
  12. Saying “thank you” more 
  13. Paying when the older woman in front of you in the store forgot her wallet
  14. Supporting initiatives by young people wanting to do good
  15. Taking my son along to the Turban Day
  16. Implementing the SDGs in our work projects
  17. Supporting causes I believe in
  18. Volunteering at projects doing good
  19. Promoting equality both at work and in private
  20. Inviting friends and their friends to an open Global Jungle birthday party, encouraging all to bring someone who’s new to our country, either as a work migrant, refugee or love migrant, and inviting people from different levels and parts of society who might not normally meet
  21. Fundraising for WomenForWomenInt
  22. Picking trash from the beach with the kids, and having fun doing it also when we’re out walking – teaching the kids awareness of our environment
  23. Smiling to strangers whenever making eye contact
  24. Inviting a refugee family to join us for summer vacation, exploring that this gave us amazing new friends and cherished memories, both for me and the kids
  25. Buying a an extra cup of coffee or something to eat when I see people begging outside on my way into a shop
  26. Helping others who need it going on/off public transportation
  27. Bringing the kids for playdate at the refugee center (3-y-o; “mom, why can’t we live like this with more people and kids at home. I want to stay here”)
  28. Sharing more hugs
  29. Spending some time every week to think through how I can support the SDGs 
  30. Collaborating with others rather than competing, always strive to support 
  31. Missing my bus to talk with a young drug-addict
  32. Discussing religion with people of other faiths, in an open and respectful manner
  33. Christmas present to family grown-ups – donation 
  34. Same for the friends
  35. Opening up for accommodating refugees in our family home, which caused my mother to enjoy the company of an amazing and remarkable young girl from Syria
  36. Giving the kids their own used and forgotten toys in their Christmas calendar – and for each day donate the gift amount to a good cause
  37. …. (To be continued)

Pay it forward!

One thought on “One Year: 365 steps towards a warmer society

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  1. „Žádný člověk není ostrov sám pro sebe. Každý je kus nějakého kontinentu, část nějaké pevniny: spláchne-li moře hroudu, je Evropa menší, jako by to byl nějaký mys, jako by to byl statek tvých přátel nebo tvůj. Smrtí každého člověka je mne méně, neboť jsem část lidstva. A proto se nikdy neptej komu zvoní hrana. Zvoní tobě.“
    – John Donne

    ‘No Man is an Island’

    No man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
    is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
    well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
    own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind.
    And therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

    Olde English Version
    No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
    is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
    if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
    is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
    well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
    owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in Mankinde;
    And therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

    Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
    John Donne

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