We are all sent to this earth to live one life with other human beings, with animals and with nature.
How long can you expect to live? If you are lucky maybe 100 years. Some will die younger and leave their loved ones with a painful feeling of emptiness in their souls.
Recently the activist in me awoke when I was in a Swedish airport. I saw sexist fridge magnets were being sold in a luxury souvenir shop. In my opinion, sexism does not match with a government-owned airport.
What did I do?
1) First, I wrote a blog post about the topic on my blog. I published it on my Facebook page.
2) Then I posted it on three groups on Facebook for Swedish people around the world.
3) I also emailed the press officer at Swedavia, the company that owns the airport.
Writing the blog post took me 10 minutes and probably 20 minutes of editing. Posting it on the Facebook group pages took about 10 minutes and the email I sent to Swedavia was also written in 10 minutes.
This is my activist blueprint that you can copy. In total my activism took less than an hour.
Why does what you do matter and should you care about anything other than your next meal?
If nobody cared about anything we would not have developed any institutions, we would not have any hospitals, no schools, no law, no sports and no supermarkets.
Somehow people have cared enough to give people healthcare and medicine, education and the law, which makes it easier for us to live together in a complex society, and thanks to supermarkets we can buy food that is okay for us to eat.
One of the side effects of pointing out that something is not fair or not working is that you are going to be told that your thoughts and ideas don’t matter, they are not important, we have other more important things to manage first. This is a reality everywhere in the world.
If you wonder what happened to me when I posted about the fridge magnets on the Facebook groups for Swedes: I was exposed to all kinds of harassment and bullying. Yes, that is what happened and I had to delete one thread because of threats and one was deleted by an admin.
Harsh online comments are one of the side effects of posting about activism online. Trolls are lurking on Facebook. Sensitive topics such as equality, politics, religion and fridge magnets may start a storm.
Here is a collection of the comments I received (I’m not including the really nasty ones), and some of the answers I wrote back, or just thought in my mind.
You have too much time, get a life.
– We all have 168 hours per week and we all make a choice what to do with the time we have.
Just typical Swedish PC (political correctness).
– This is a common argument if you point out that something does not belong in 2016.
I think the fridge magnets are pretty, I will buy them all next time I’m there.
– Okay, I don’t care what you decorate your fridge with, but they shouldn’t be sold in an airport.
There are worse problems in the world, get a life.
– Thank you for your lifestyle advice. I run my own life and do whatever I want with it.
Don’t take yourself so seriously.
– Thank you for your great tips. I will immediately stop taking myself too seriously.
This is nothing to get annoyed about, don’t you have anything else in life to think about that is more important?
– Obviously not, if I need your coaching again I will get in touch.
Relax, you are too easily offended.
– I’m not, actually. I put up with lots of shit every day and it’s only sometimes that I share my thoughts about it.
You are sexist too, as you don’t seem to care about men at all.
There are women in the world that have it much worse than you, why don’t you go and help the kidnapped ISIS women instead?
– Yes, let’s all get overwhelmed and don’t do anything about anything, just watch reality TV and prepare our next meal.
You are wrong, these symbols mean nothing.
– They do.
Do you really have to cry out on Facebook? Don’t be so bl**dy short-tempered.
– I’m not crying, I’m just pointing out that these magnets doesn’t belong in an airport.
You don’t have to purchase the magnets or anything in the shop.
-Thank you for the information, I will remember that next time I’m in an airport and will write a note to myself so I remember. ‘I don’t have to purchase the magnets.’
These magnets are funny, put your energy into something more important.
– Yes, they make me laugh out loud, so funny! Can’t help it.
There are worse things to worry about, just think about what ISIS does to women.
– Yes, we can all die tomorrow. Why do anything to improve the world? *Great feeling*
It’s a joke, playing on stereotypes. There are more important problems in the world, aren’t there?
– I hate the argument that there are ‘bigger’ things to care about. It’s a stone-age mentality.
I hate Swedish people, especially women.
– Okay, sounds like you have some deeper issues.
You wear far too much make-up to be a good role-model for young women.
– Do I? And by the way, wearing make-up and being a role-model have nothing to do with each other.
We can all die tomorrow. Why do anything that may leave some trace of our presence on earth?
If our lives mean nothing then we should just not bother to do anything creative.
Why improve anything at all? Why plant trees and organise a garden? Why build a house? Why help children with their homework? Why compose music? Why write books? Why blog? Why eat healthy food? Why do any sports? Why run a YouTube channel?
I can share thousands of activities that are utterly meaningless unless we put meaning into them. Strangely enough, as humans, we add meaning to the things we do. We give the life we live meaning, somehow.
In my case, I took the time to share my thoughts about the fridge magnets. It was meaningful to me at that moment.
I stood up for my values. You can too.
All activism starts with one person thinking something is wrong and that we should do something about it. A small thought or a tiny ‘baby-idea’ is all it takes to start change. Micro-actions matter.
Every day we make several choices. You can make a different choice than you did the day before. But it only works if you want to make a different choice. You need to tell your mind that tomorrow I will do something different.
We can all be active in the community we live in. Everyone can put in some energy to change something for the better, if not every week, then maybe once a year.
Change can happen but it takes effort, thought and an idea of what a better world would look like.
My friends, stay strong and try to think just a tiny bit outside your own habitual life. It works and is incredibly inspiring and rewarding.
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