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How to make positive change
To make change you need the following:
- Protect your time - If at all possible make your professional life your activism. The vast majority of your productive time will be spent at work -- if you are not working for positive change your overall impact will be limited to the comparably shorter time you can devote to it after hours.
- Discipline yourself to make your work and as much of the rest of your life consistent with your values.
- Utilize your professional success to leverage more change.
- Discipline yourself in selection of Issues for action -- Limit your attention to issues you can influence
- Discipline yourself in pursuit of issues over an extended time -- most problems in this space will take many years to finalize
- Development of detailed analysis of the problem and preferred solution(s) -- Who are the stake holders? Why is the system operating as it currently does?
- Develop a long term strategy - take the specific large problem/project and break it into manageable pieces
- Develop multi-faceted strategy -- What if plan A fails? B? and so on...
- Develop coalitions, collaborations, and partnerships with like-minded groups, organizations and individuals
- Develop mutual communication, understanding and cooperation with like-minded movements in other countries. Consider making the products of your work open source.
- Start by seizing the low-hanging fruit: identify sympathetic individuals and organizations who are ready to take action, but are held back for lack of something simple, such as information.
- Seek out individuals and organizations who have implemented best practice in your chosen problem/project. Study them to avoid re-inventing wheels. Then focus your innovation to go beyond the best practice.
- Develop a ratcheting strategy which preserves each advance to your goal, and resists falling backwards.
- Take detailed notes on everything you do that works and does not work. Share your notes with others so they can learn from, and teach you.
- Have quantifiable metrics, so you can distinguish between real progress vs. merely feeling you have done something positive, and you can rationally compare alternative actions. For example, in the field of climate change mitigationW it's all about tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalentW emissions avoided, or sequesteredW for an indefinitely long time. In a Transition Town project, it's all about reducing the town's petroleum burn to zero.
- Identify major trends which will affect society in the decades to come: the Keeling curve,W Hubbert's curve,W Moore's law,W etc. Then adapt your strategies to exploit the coming changes. For example, it is highly probable that in the future, computers will be more capable, cheaper, and more available, while liquid hydrocarbon fossil fuels will be scarcer, more expensive, and more polluting. If a given problem can be solved either with computers or with (say) automobiles, if you bet on the computer solution, you can expect it to only get better going forward, whereas the automobile solution can only get worse.
- Habits are hard to establish, then hard to abandon once established. Identify the habits you need to reach your goal. Once you have cultivated those habits, your progress to the goal will be nearly automatic.
- Understand the trait all highly skilled people have in common: when practicing in their chosen fields, they reliably attain flow.W Try to structure your life and your working conditions to make them conducive to attaining flow.