Use Your Voice
by Nash Gierak
It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? We’re all stretched with not enough hours in the day as it is. How can we do MORE?
I’m definitely at my limit financially, I barely have time to comb my hair and I’m always mentally and physically shattered. But I started to think about how I could start moving out of my comfort zone to communicate more effectively outside of my (wonderful) already engaged online community.
There are ways to speak ‘publicly’ and directly without it being confrontational. It’s especially important for non-eco accounts to start casually dropping things into the conversation and normalizing it. The more we talk the less exposed we will feel.
The definition of speaking ‘publicly’ has changed somewhat since the rise of social media over the last decade or so. No longer do we have to harangue the general public at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner (there’s a real London reference for you there!) or walk the streets with a placard and a loudspeaker claiming ‘the end is nigh’ (although it’s not sounding like the worst idea given the climate emergency, right?).
So here are a few ways you can get on your metaphorical soapbox (there’s a good reason the apps we all use are called platforms!), and you can do them for free, from your phone, and most importantly, sitting down! This may sound like the armchair activism or slacktivism that people sneer about, but we live in the modern world and engaging online is a vital and valuable tool for change. These are things we can do IN ADDITION to whatever else we’re doing. And they can be done while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.
TWEET a company — positive feedback or constructive criticism POST on social media about a sustainable swap you’re happy with
RECOMMEND a website or blog to a friend
SHARE an article or helpful post, a documentary or book
SIGN a petition
Creating a dialogue is key. The internet can feel like talking into a black hole but you’re more influential than you think. Think back to how you started — was it something someone said or shared that planted the seed?
If you’re feeling motivated, try one of these actions a day (365 a year!). Or perhaps once a week is more manageable? You’ll be amazed by how many ideas for ‘helpful suggestions’ pop into your mind once you start actively encouraging these thoughts, using your dissatisfaction as motivation for positive change rather than festering silent disgruntlement.
These are things I used to feel shy or anxious about doing, but it’s become necessary for me to take steps to overcome that. I’ve found a way to do this without it triggering stress, and that’s important for me. It’s been even more important to me to exercise my voice since becoming a parent, and weirdly that’s meant becoming something of an activist on social media while my arm is trapped under a sleeping baby. It’s healthy to push ourselves by reevaluating what our limits are — but doing so at a pace you’re comfortable with. You may surprise yourself!