No two ways about it: 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. The pandemic has infected more than 30 million in the world and has claimed the lives of 1 million people. COVID-19 has plunged the global economy into the worst recession the world has seen in a century. We see climate change’s effects in ways we never have before. America is divided. We have lost remarkable people from government, entertainment, and sports. It feels like every time we open our devices, a new headline pops up confirming what we already know: It’s been a terrible year, and it’s only getting worse day by day.
It’s easy to feel powerless over everything that’s happening in the world. After all, we’re just regular folks with no power to influence policy or change laws. But while we may not be fully able to make changes at a national or global level (that’s really a job for the world’s leaders and multi-billionaires), there are still many things we can do to help make a positive impact in the world.
Here are a few ways to do good in the time of COVID-19.
Start a small non-profit
Look around your neighborhood and observe. What are their felt needs that you can help meet? Is hunger a problem? How about underprivileged children who now have to attend online classes? How is the local animal shelter faring during the pandemic? Find a need in your community and set up a small non-profit to help raise funds for it.
There is so much good you can do in the world with the right motivation and proper marketing. Consider enlisting the help of digital marketing specialists to help you set up a marketing plan for your non-profit. Experiment with different channels. Use tools like apps to reach more people and outsource software development to companies that specialize in it.
Consider transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle
Studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a renewed interest in socially responsible behaviors like ethical consumerism and sustainability. And it’s no surprise: natural calamities like the West Coast wildfires are waking people up to the realities and effects of climate change. The threat of COVID-19 is also forcing people to live healthier lifestyles.
While it’s true that combating climate change takes action at a global level, there are still ways for individuals to contribute to the saving of the planet. If you find the idea of sustainable living intimidating, start small and simple. Here’s how to start reducing your carbon footprint:
- Turn off lights and appliances you’re not using.
- Conserve water.
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances and bulbs.
- Reduce air-condition use and open your windows instead.
- Lower your thermostat setting and bundle up in the winter.
- Hang clothes to dry.
- Support companies and brands that value sustainability.
- Bike to work instead of driving.
- Go vegan!
Start simple and work your way towards more challenging eco-lifestyle practices, like conscious consumerism. Take it one day at a time until it becomes second nature to you.
Partner with people whose advocacy and mission you believe in
The word “community” is pretty much self-explanatory—it’s a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Whatever your core beliefs and advocacies are, it’s likely there’s already a group of people who have organized in service to that common goal or mission.
What advocacies do you believe in? Find communities that embody all that you want to do in the world, and don’t hesitate to partner with them. Don’t forget to do your due diligence, though. Research well on that organization to make sure that everything they’re doing is above board and that theirs is a culture you want to be part of.
It’s true what they say: No man is an island. There is power in collective action—we are more powerful together than we are apart. Your goals may be noble, but you can’t do it alone. You need people around you to help you and encourage you to keep going when problems arise.
Stay properly informed
Living in the age of Facebook and Twitter means living in the age of misinformation. In the era of fake news, believing in science, experts, and medical professionals is an act of resistance. Double-check every suspicious headline and claim. Form opinions based on facts and peer-reviewed research journals.
Most importantly, be kind. We cannot win people over by being rude or acting high-and-mighty—we need to understand how they came to the conclusions that they came to. Now more than ever, we need to come together if we’re going to survive this pandemic and recession.