Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children and Me to We. Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.
With gifts unwrapped and bellies stuffed with treats, now is the time that Canadians begin the annual search for New Year’s resolutions we can stick to. It’s possible that the traditional commitments to “live better” are so challenging to keep because they’re simply no fun: There’s no instant rush involved in avoiding sweets, working more efficiently or taking up jogging in the middle of a Canadian winter.
If you’re looking to feel good without worrying over sugar or sloth, try resolving to make the world a better place. It sounds intimidating, but it’s actually easier than losing 20 pounds or learning to tango. We’re big believers that changing the world takes a collection of daily actions, and even the smallest first step can lead to a “helper’s high” of endorphins that keeps you coming back for more.
We’d suggest becoming a mentor through Scouts or Big Brothers Big Sisters, joining a volunteer board for a local organization, or setting aside a portion of your monthly income for charity. But should we be aiming higher?
This week’s question: What New Year’s resolution can we make to have the greatest positive impact on the world?
Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation
Let’s ask ourselves “how much is enough?” Everything we take from the Earth today has a price and means less for future generations. Let’s also accept responsibility for climate change, reduce fossil fuel use in our own lives and ask our leaders to create a national energy strategy that values the environment.
Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada
We must resolve to finally end the intractable crises in Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and adopt a badly needed new treaty to rein in the deadly global arms trade. Canadians can start by letting their member of Parliament know that they expect action on these and other pressing human rights concerns.
Leilani Farha, executive director of Canada Without Poverty
To eliminate poverty in Canada, charity is good but it’s not enough. In 2013, Canadians can start by learning more about the causes and consequences of poverty, then sign on to the Dignity For All campaign (dignityforall.ca) run by social justice groups across the country, and finally engage in conversation with family, friends and elected officials to find and enact real solutions.
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