8 Actions You Can Take to Stop Apathy

If asked what the biggest issue facing our country today is, I would enthusiastically respond with one word — apathy.

I honestly believe that the majority of ills in our world today are caused by people simply not caring enough about them to do anything.

Pick An Issue

One of the excuses people give for not caring is that there are too many things to care about. Global warming. The economy. World hunger. World peace. Homelessness. The list goes on.

You don’t have to be passionate about everyone of those issues. No one can be. So pick one. Or two. Focus on those issues and do something about it.

I’m passionate about spreading my faith through my local church. I also work at a local nonprofit that helps sick children. I also have a personal vendetta against people who text and drive.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” said some unknown famous person.

Stay informed

Most people know the phrase “Ignorance is bliss.” But did you know that the second half of that quote is “But knowledge is power”?

While some people may prefer to live in the dark, you can’t make a difference in your community without knowing something about it.

So watch the television news. Read a newspaper. Attend a local city council meeting. Each of these things have become all too uncommon these days. Don’t rely on social media as your only source of information. You’re only hurting yourself when you do.

The Ad Council has a number of active campaigns being run on a variety of topics.

Donate

Fortunately, there are lots of organizations dedicated to solving societal issues. There are over 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States, as of 2016. Caring is their job.

Unfortunately, charitable giving to these organizations only makes up about 2% of the nation’s GDP, as of 2015. And it’s been stuck at that level for the last few years.

Giving financially is one of the easiest ways to make an impact. Because each of these nonprofits relies heavily on individual contributions from the general public.

Since navigating which charities to give to can be daunting, here are three great organizations that make this task a little easier:

Volunteer

Not everyone has disposable income to donate. Some of us would rather donate our time and skills instead. Which is great, because nonprofits rely on volunteers in addition to donations.

Volunteering is a more direct way to see the impact you can make on a community when you get involved. You get the reward of seeing life-change happen first-hand.

Just as there are guides on which nonprofit to donate to, below are some resources that help to match up potential volunteers with the right volunteer opportunities:

Vote

In case you missed it, we recently had an election in this country. And regardless of who you wanted to win, the most important thing was actually participating in the democratic process.

While the presidential race was by far the most evident, there were a number of other local elections and constitutional amendments on ballots that most people weren’t aware of.

So not only should you take the time to register and vote, but you should also be a well-informed voter. And it’s hard to keep track of what to vote for, so here are some more helpful links:

Write a letter to a Politician

Voting is one of the most powerful ways to hold the government accountable. But voting alone isn’t always enough. Sometimes to get a politician to hear you, you’ve got to go old-school and write them a letter. Or a slightly less old-school email.

Tell your local representative about that cause you care so much about. Or why the organization you donate to is so important to the community. Or why you didn’t vote for him.

In a world of apathy, most people don’t take the time to communicate directly with even local politicians. So a well-thought out letter or email might actually get your voice heard. And working directly within the government can be one of the most direct way of influencing change.

Don’t know who your federal or local politicians are? You do now:

Sign a Petition

Usually one letter from one (albeit enthusiastic) individual isn’t enough to enact change within our government. That’s where petitions come in — messages written and endorsed by many people to show a unified belief in a cause.

Petitions can be for anything. And although some of them are honestly stupid, some of them can make a real difference. Best of all, you don’t have to wait for someone to slide you a physical sheet of paper to sign. There are hundreds of online petitions waiting for you to join their cause.

Stop your excuses

If you’ve read this far or clicked on a link, then you’re successfully combating apathy. However, apathy reigns because it’s so easy to slide back into. Anyone can donate or vote or volunteer for a day and then stop caring for another year.

So end apathy now by stopping the excuses that caused you to be apathetic in the first place. Limit your technology consumption. Recycle. Read a book instead of watching more TV. Stop texting and driving. Be more kind to strangers.

Do your small part to make our world a better place. Exude empathy. Kill apathy.