I want the courage to make a difference. I want to be as passionate & purposeful about this as Linda Cliatt-Wayman is with her call to action: “If You Are Going To Lead, LEAD!” Yesterday, I focused on starting a revolution in education. Educating people is a great & worthy challenge, and it requires action. Action doesn’t always have to start with the giant steps, however it must start with the first step. That first step can be a baby step that gives people an alternative to the status quo to think about. A small action can ripple into massive change. All you need to do is start.
That is exactly what Pam Warhurst did and talks about in her Ted Talk: “How we can eat our landscapes”. She had some ideas about making things greener, which turned into planting edible gardens throughout her city, which then grew to a tourist attraction, an educational tour, an addition to local curricula, and a movement adopted by other cities. In addition, she fed people in need and people in curiosity with free food. She raised awareness about the needs of pollinators, local produce growers, carbon footprints, and a whole host of side benefits grew from her simple idea. Let’s start a movement to help feed the poor and homeless in all our cities! Write letters to your representatives asking for s shift in what is planted on the side of roads. Instead of flowers, plant vegetable gardens; instead of maple trees, plant apples, pears, plums, cherries, and nut trees! Put raised beds on the sides of all our bike and pedestrian paths and pack them with berry bushes, instead of the current swatches of wild grasses. By the way, Pam and her friends started all this without the permission of any government. They did it wherever they could, showed the results and then got the support from the government. What could you do to make your community more awesome?
That is exactly what Richard Turere did with a simple idea that stopped the slaughterer of lions where he lives in Africa. Richard was 7 years old when he was put in charge of caring for his family’s herd of cows. The biggest problem they had was that the lions who followed the free roaming herds of zebras, often attacked the slower moving cows they could find. So, Richard tried a few things until he discovered that the lions didn’t come near when he walked around at night with a torch. So, he rigged up some blinking car indicator lights to a solar powered car battery, and connected it to the wire fences that kept his cows in, but not the lions out. No lions came that first night, or any night after. The villagers heard about this and asked him, now 9 to install them on their enclosures. Shortly there after, he got a scholarship to a local college to pursue his dreams and more amazing things happened. One could say he did all this because he didn’t know he couldn’t. Or, one could say that he took a small action to help his father and ended up creating an invention that is saving the lion population from extinction, but not only lions, it was used in other areas to solve the same issue with hyenas and other predators. He didn’t know how big his idea was, nor did he imagine it could have so much far reaching and still growing impacts. All because he acted on his idea. What ideas are you going to act upon?
Some ideas or actions are implemented with a certain belief of long term, and massive impact. Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the “One Laptop per Child Association” believes so strongly in discovery education, that he set out connecting children who were geographically isolated to information that would potentially release a revolution of innovation from people who, like Richard Turere, don’t know that can’t do it. To his amazement, the people who asked the most for them were not ministers of education, rather they were the ministers of defence and finance. People who have seen what war and crime had done to destroy their countries and shared his belief that education was strength. He partnered with a manufacturer and followed a model I saw only being done by Tom’s Shoes. You buy one laptop and they give one to a poor child free. I Nicholas’ model, he knew that one at a time wasn’t sufficient, so he made sure he brought enough for every child in the communities they approached. Like all the others, an extra benefit emerged that he didn’t consider. The children were now teaching their parents, who grew up in strife and poverty, how to read and write. Thus strengthening the family units and the whole community, as well as shifting them back to an older paradigm of honouring their parents & elders. Wow!
What seed will you plant today to foster some amazing growth? What is the most important thing you would like to do? What is the smallest change you would like to make? What small action can you do today? For me, I’m still searching, but I believe with greater certainty everyday, that writing about amazing people will inspire someone out there to do great things. So, for today, I am making a change in the world by doing what I love, sharing inspiring stories! Would you please share your story with me, so I can share it with others?