Find something you love and donate to it.

To find something you love, a cause we would enjoy supporting, is fun. And having done our research and made our choice, we can then donate time, energy, enthusiasm or funds to it: Children and adults in need, trees and forest conservation, all kinds of wild and wonderful creatures, the causes of free speech, our local library, local producers, volunteer centres, all of these benefit from our input, big or small.

We may say we “cannot afford it” – we haven’t the time, or the energy or the funds; but on closer inspection, we may be excusing ourselves because “there’s so much wrong, what difference can I make?” or “I’m just so busy… I’m tired by the sheer scale of the problems we face…”

These are always good arguments, valid and full of reason, to explain why we fail to get involved. And indeed, compassion fatigue can creep up on us. How many petitions have we signed lately, urging action? How many appeals have we seen, and wished we could do more for? But maintaining that, therefore, there is no point in getting involved, is a tiny bit like walking along the street or in the supermarket, seeing a lost child, and not stopping to ask them, “Can I help you?”

I know there will also be lots of people who would say, “I would love to help, but I don’t want to be accused of doing anything inappropriate…” and that too, is a legitimate concern. But, on the other hand, how appropriate would it be, to leave a lost person lost? How appropriate is it, to notice that there is a problem and do nothing about it? How appropriate, to leave the moral, the difficult physical and emotional work to other people, to our young people and those who must come after us?

Lots of people do that. They make a mess, and expect nameless “others” to tidy it up. I see very clear examples of this from my kitchen window, when someone fills up the communal waste bins with something totally inappropriate, or dumps something on the kerb that they know will not be picked up by the garbage collectors. How do they expect that stuff will get sorted out? Who else will deal with it? Is it right just to expect it to miraculously vanish, one day?

Lots of questions. But it is easy to make a difference. We just have to decide that we want to, and the rest follows.

Thanks for listening.

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