Here at Raw Natural Beauty, we get so inspired by people who challenge us to lead with action, not just words. The epitome being Nelson Mandela, who turns 92 this month and has devoted his life to serving his community, fighting for his country and speaking out on behalf of the poor. Taking steps toward positive changes not only helps ourselves, but the world around us.
Its easy to feel powerless when we are bombarded with coverage of an oil spill that should never have happened, wars and unrest around the world, greedy companies without a conscience, and our unpredictable financial crisis that has left many of us, our friends and family out of work. But then you see examples of those who have not lost their will to fight for change. In light of Mandela’s nearly a century of life-changing work, I wanted to celebrate a few recent examples of people who have put their passion into action.
I love the story of 11-year old Olivia Bouler who was so moved by the images she saw of the suffering Gulf wildlife after the oil spill that she began to draw pictures of the birds and sell them, earning her viral campaign national media attention. Her contribution? Over $100,000 to help rescue birds and restore their damaged habitat.
In the wake of the recession, we have been overwhelmed by heartbreaking stories of families in crisis. So it’s incredible to see people like Shay Kelley who managed to turn a series of setbacks into a beautiful success story. Last year she was laid off, had her car stolen and found herself homeless after being unable to make rent. But in just one year, she started Project 50/50, an initiative in which she’s driving her pickup truck to 50 states in 50 weeks to collect and donate non-perishable food items. I love this statement on her website, “Success does not always mean having wealth, or even personal achievement. It means to try, even when it seems impossible.” You can track her cross-country journey on her website http://www.shaykelley.com/Week-1.html.
Then on a global scale, I’m wowed by groups like Ultimate Peace, an organization dedicated to stopping generations of violence in the Middle East by bringing together Israeli and Palestinian youth through the game of ultimate frisbee. What a simple yet innovative approach – allowing the youth to bond as teammates and equals in an effort to break down the barriers that stand in the way of peace and nonviolence.
As Mandela’s work is the inspiration for this post, I want to give him one mention. This is a man who never stopped fighting for those in need and was never afraid to stand up for what he knew was right (wish I had his brand of courage!). He fought against apartheid during his long walk to freedom, spending over 25 years in prison (can you even imagine?). He battled for every South African to have the right to vote, leading the country to its first free and fair election. He lobbied for equal education. He called for the world to come together and help those embedded in poverty. He challenged all of us to show the world what a difference just one person can make.
So what can YOU do to make a change? Start by trying to identify what you are most passionate about. At Raw Natural Beauty, we have a lot of passions – eliminating the use of toxic and nonrenewable ingredients in beauty products, promoting fair trade and sustainability, protecting the health and wellness of children, and supporting our local community through work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
If you need a place to start, check out change.org which features a myriad of causes and campaigns and ways to get involved. Or go ahead and start your own movement for change around the issue you care about most, using change.org’s online petition tool.
I want to end with writer and activist Arundahti Roy’s moving quote about the birth of a new world: “Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe.”Christina Marcaccini is the founder and creator of RAW Natural Beauty and is dedicated to finding natural solutions in the cosmetic world.