Once you have a vision for the world you’d like to create, it’s time to take a narrower focus and decide on a specific issue you want to campaign on.
There may be lots of things you care about. But you can’t change everything at once. Change takes time and is incremental. To get to where you want to end up, you need to break actions into achievable chunks. Not only does this prevent you feeling overwhelmed, it also means you can celebrate the small wins and track your progress towards your ultimate goal.
What does an issue look like?
Your issue will be something specific.
Most of the time a specific issue fits within a larger, structural problem. For example ‘ending injustice’ is just too big an issue. But you could break down what you mean by injustice and focus on tackling racism, sexism, inequality and the climate crisis.
Break down your issue so you pick one of these things.
Working out the change you want to see
When you’ve identified a specific issue, the next thing to do is to think about the change you want to see. What is one thing that could help to solve your issue, and make your life (or the lives of those affected) better? This change won’t solve the whole problem. But it will solve enough of it to be worth fighting for.
Examples of broad issues and specific changes:
Issue: Patriarchy / Sexism
Change you’d like to see: End to street harassment
Issue: Job insecurity for young people.
Change you’d like to see: Ban on unpaid internships.
Issue: Ageism in politics.
Change you’d like to see: Quotas for young people in political parties, the right to vote at 16 years old.
Issue: Youth homelessness.
Change you’d like to see: Access to affordable housing for students.
Issue: Inequality / Poverty
Change you’d like to see: Unionisation for food delivery workers/platform workers.
Issue: Climate emergency
Change you’d like to see: European countries rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels and compensating countries most affected in the Global South
Ask yourself: is there one issue that:
- You are most passionate about?
- Is the biggest obstacle to your vision of the future?
- Affects your wellbeing or the wellbeing of those you care about the most?
Whatever issue you choose to focus on, it should be something that makes you feel emotional and inspires you. These feelings will help drive your engagement and make your campaigning more effective.