Bad news about our planet is everywhere right now and it’s hard to hear.

 

The recently released report into progress on the Sustainable Development Goals highlights how high the stakes have become.

We’re currently experiencing more global conflict than at any time since the formation of the UN, and more refugees than at any time since Word War Two. Australia has just received its report into the state of our environment – some have described it ‘poor’ and others ‘dire’. Add in the economic impact of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine and you’d be excused for wanting to never open a news site again.

It’s clearly never been more important to make a response, but how are we supposed to hold it together? 

1. Stay engaged

The natural (and worst) response to bad news is to switch off. There’s not a person on the planet who can afford to do that. As Eldridge Cleaver said: “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” Consciously set aside a manageable amount of time to stay in touch with the issues that matter to you most.

2. Build your muscle

Take responsibility for building your own resilience and guarding your sanity in response to negative realities. Go for a walk, talk to a psychologist, binge The Office, eat chocolate (dark, obviously), sing, visit friends, pray/meditate, plan a holiday, pat a dog. And stay informed about progress as well as problems. 

3. Lean on your community

Friends, workplace, church congregation, school, agencies you support – get yourself a core group of people who care about the same things you do and are already taking action. Plan, laugh, rant with them. Keep a record of small wins and celebrate together.

4. Start small

Pick one thing you care about and make a change: compost and reduce food waste; recycle properly; limit mindless consumption of media/clothing/alcohol; write to your MP about refugees. Hold yourself accountable for progress in one measurable area.

5. Invest

No matter what your income and budget, find a cause you believe in and become a regular giver. Consider it a non-negotiable expense and review the amount you give annually. Put aside some extra $$ to respond to emergencies, but invest each month in the long term work that prevents and reduces the impact of disasters. Read the feedback you’re sent about the impact you’re having and celebrate it.

The world has never needed you more.

Keep playing your part.

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