Chapter 1

Taking individual action for change

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You know the importance of reflection and working on yourself in order to change the world. As you campaign for change, remember to keep thinking about your history and how society has shaped your ideas and biases. We all need to maintain that active practice of thinking about how our cultural conditioning impacts on us and what that means for how we treat others. 

Once you have decided on your vision for the world you want to create, and identified the issue you want to campaign on, it’s time to discover how you can take individual action to affect real and transformational change. 

Stop and think for a moment. How many people do you see around you who are taking action to change society?

One example might be Greta Thunberg, the climate activist from Sweden. Aged 15, Greta started to sit outside the Swedish Parliament every Friday as part of a school strike for stronger action on climate. She began her resistance on her own, but her actions soon inspired young people around the world to stage similar strikes and the Fridays for Future movement was born. 

Another example of how individual action can make a great difference is Max Schrems. 

When he was just 24 years old, the law student brought an action against Facebook through the Irish Data Protection Company, arguing the company did not respect his right to privacy. In the years to come, Schrems filed different lawsuits and class actions against tech giants that failed to comply with data protection. In this way, the young lawyer raised significant awareness about the use of personal data by big companies and demanded that citizens are protected against abuse.

Both Greta and Max started taking action by themselves, but their actions were much more powerful when more people joined in. 

There are easy ways you can take action as an individual. You can add your name to online petitions, write to your local Member of Parliament or local newspaper, or start your own protest like Greta and Max. 

At first, taking individual action may be your only option. But always remember the importance of coming together to build collective power and make a bigger impact. 

Some questions to consider if you are thinking about taking action:
  • What organisations are working on the issue I care most about? Are any focused on the change I would like to see?
  • What actions can I take on my own? 
  • What opportunities are there for me to work with other people and organisations to make the change I would like to see?
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