Kathy Lemay: President and CEO of Raising Change
Ready to change the world? Create a social action plan. 1. Determine the issues you care most about (for example, ending violence against women and children or clearing toxins from your neighborhood). 2. Envision how you will impact this during your lifetime (I will turn my town into a violence-free zone and encourage five friends to do the same in their towns, until every town across the world commits). 3. Map out how you will contribute your time, money, and talent (five hours and $25 a month plus my skills as a writer and go-getter). Remember what a poet June Jordan taught us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Elizabeth Lesser: Cofounder of the Omega Institute and author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
After 9/11 as bulldozers removed the evidence of sorrow, we were told to go shopping. What if the smoldering ruins had been left there for a year? Our culture sanitizes or satirizes any emotion that might slow us down, or, God forbid, connect us to the pain of others. But grief is healing. So I would teach the art of grieving, along with math and reading, as part of an emotional intelligence curriculum starting in preschool. If boys don’t learn how to fell what others are feeling, we will never go beyond violence and war. If girls aren’t taught to find their voices, their point of view – one that the 21st century desperately needs – will not be heard. Golda Meir said, “Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.” The world will be saved by people who know how to weep and laugh.
Nikki Giovanni: Poet, author of Acolytes
For me-it is the realization that I cannot save the world.
The world is neither time nor money.
For me-it is that thing in front of me:
The man in prison for a horrible crime
who has become my brother
My neighbor’s sons who talk football to me over the back fence
The yellow jackets who have made their home by my deck
All the things I say I don’t have time to do but really
don’t have time to don’t do
For me-it is the joy of being alive
For me-it is the living
Jeremy Scahill: Author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army
If you think the United States has only 169,000 troops in Iraq, think again. With almost no oversight, Washington has more than doubled the occupation through the use of almost 200,000 private contractors who do everything from cooking to providing armed mercenary services. Their actions go largely unmonitored, their crimes (including shooting Iraqi civilians) are virtually unpunished, and about 1,000 have been killed– but these numbers are not included in the official toll. The administration has created a shadow army that can be used to wage unpopular wars. Write or call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; ask them to stop funding mercenary forces in Iraq.
Source: The Oprah Magazine, December 2007
How about you? Do you have any idea about how to save the world?