EIGHT WAYS THAT YOU CAN MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

1. CLICK AND DO­NATE

There are sev­eral web­sites where you can trig­ger a do­na­tion from the site’s spon­sor by click­ing on an icon. Go to the Rain­for­est site ( www.therain­forest­site. com) and save one square me­tre of rain­for­est. It won’t cost you a penny. To­mor­row you can save an­other square me­tre. Or take a vo­cab­u­lary test at www.freerice.com and for each def­i­ni­tion you get right, 10 grains of rice will be do­nated to feed the hun­gry. This was launched on Oc­to­ber 7, when 830 grains were do­nated; by the end of Oc­to­ber, the daily to­tal had risen to 60 mil­lion grains, and is still ris­ing. Beware: this web­site is se­ri­ously ad­dic­tive.

2. SAVE YOUR SPARE CHANGE

Get hold of a large jar to use as a col­lect­ing box. Empty your pock­ets of spare change ev­ery night. De­cide which coins to keep for to­mor­row and which to put in your col­lect­ing box. You will be amazed at how much you can col­lect with­out even notic­ing. Find a project that in­ter­ests you, and do­nate your sav­ings to it.

3. CHANGE SOME­ONE’S LIFE

If you are stuck for ideas, why not lend your money to help a poor per­son in a de­vel­op­ing coun­try to help them set up a busi­ness? It is ex­cit­ing to give your sup­port di­rectly to one per­son. What is more, once they have made a suc­cess of their en­ter­prise, they will re­pay your loan.And when you get your money back, you can de­cide to lend it to some­body else. Go to www.kiva.org and choose who to in­vest in.

4. RE­CY­CLE YOUR OLD SPEC­TA­CLES

Over here we have the latest de­signer frames and two-pairs-for-thep­rice-of-one spe­cial of­fers. In the de­vel­op­ing world, 200 mil­lion peo­ple live their lives in a haze of half-sight, too poor to have an eye test or buy a pair of spec­ta­cles. Your old specs could be­come a win­dow to a bright new world for some­one else. Do­nate your old spec­ta­cles. Start a col­lec­tion in your com­mu­nity or at work. Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Vi­sion Aid Over­seas will send them to where they are needed: www.vao. org.uk

5. MAKE A GOOD GIFT

It is Chanu­cah soon… or it is some­one’s birth­day’s next week. And you don’t know what to get them. Maybe they’ve got all they need. Maybe they never like what you choose. Here’s the per­fect an­swer. Buy a Good Gift. Their birth­day gift is a goat for a widow in Rwanda. They will re­ally like it, as it will help trans­form some­one’s life. The even bet­ter news is that they will not have to look af­ter the goat. The Good Gifts Cat­a­logue ( www. goodgifts.org), founded by my wife Hi­lary Blume, is full of ex­cit­ing gift ideas that will help change the world.

6. LINK UP YOUR COM­PUTER

Most of the day your com­puter is do­ing noth­ing, when it could be help­ing solve an im­por­tant prob­lem – like the struc­ture for an ef­fec­tive Aids vac­cine, or cli­mate pre­dic­tion that looks at the im­pact of global warm­ing. Th­ese prob­lems are too large to be solved by a sin­gle com­puter. But thou­sands of com­put­ers all over the world work­ing to­gether could have an ef­fect. Go to www. dis­tribut­ed­com­put­ing.info and sign up for one of the ac­tive projects.

7. GET A RED CREDIT CARD

Prod­uct RED was started by Bono to raise money for the Global Fund to fight the world’s three killer dis­eases — Aids, TB and malaria. Get the Amer­i­can Ex­press RED card ( www.joinred.com). There is no an­nual fee and 1% of your spend is given to the Global Fund. You even get RED treats for your­self if you spend more than £2,000 in any quar­ter.

8. DRINK DIF­FER­ENTLY

Marks & Spencer now sells only Fair­trade cof­fee. Give up bot­tled wa­ter and ask for tap in­stead (with ice and a slice of lemon); taste tests show that you will not be able to tell the dif­fer­ence, but you will be re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion and sav­ing money. Switch to low-en­ergy light­bulbs, com­post your waste and find other ways of re­duc­ing your car­bon foot­print… there are so many things you can do. Be­gin to change the world through your ac­tions. And have fun do­ing it. Then go and do more to­mor­row, and sign up all your friends as ev­ery­day ac­tivists. You might come up with a bril­liant idea and be­come the next Muham­mad Yunus, who cre­ated the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, pro­mot­ing so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and won the No­bel Peace Prize. Michael Nor­ton is au­thor of 365 Ways to Change the World (Harper Collins, £6.95), which sug­gests some­thing sim­ple to do for each day of the year, and The Ev­ery­day Ac­tivist (Box­tree, £9.99), which shows you how to get in­volved and is il­lus­trated with prac­ti­cal ad­vice and the in­spir­ing sto­ries of over 40 or­di­nary peo­ple who have done ex­tra­or­di­nary things. If you have an idea for tak­ing ac­tion in your com­mu­nity or for a bet­ter world, visit www.unltd.org.uk, an or­gan­i­sa­tion Michael Nor­ton helped found. You may be el­i­gi­ble for a cash award

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