The first post, the one moment that inspired me, and the beginning of The Good Advocate.
It feels a little odd writing this post, because up until few weeks ago I was set on a completely different name for my editorial project documenting good in the world. In that sense, this is not the beginning of my quest to advocate good. But stories have been rewritten eons past, so let it be said that this marks the beginning of The Good Advocate.
The world is a messy place, where simple actions have deep-seated consequences, where few things are solely good or bad, and where every day, it seems that we hear more bad news than good. The ice caps are melting, islands and countries are drowning (either in water or in debt), economies are unstable, societies are in chaos, wars and revolutions are common, draught, famine and natural disasters are abundant. Not to forget as well, that a large percentage of the population believed the world was going to end on the 21st of December 2012. The future seems bleak – how long can the earth and its inhabitants survive?
Call it pessimism or realism, but if we all thought that way, life would seem like a hopeless endeavour, one that is not much worth living. I am an irrational optimist, and instead prefer looking at all things good that is happening in the world, in hopes that it would inspire more good causes – breaking the downward spiral that humanity seems to be heading for.
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” – William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Months ago, I was inspired to create an online editorial which displays good choices that anyone can make in their daily lives. Then, it was borne out of passion for social and environmental good. Yet, the more intent I was at making my vision came to life, the more I noticed the world around me. Good is everywhere.
I discovered that barely 5 minutes from where I work there is an organic vegan cafe priced affordably, serving healthy meals which taste absolutely delicious. It had been my first time trying something at a vegan cafe, and I was not disappointed. For meat lovers, just a bite of the scrumptious burger and you would not miss meat that much, for that meal. One does not have to declare oneself a vegan to enjoy the benefits of innately good food every once in a while. At the same time, one would be saving the world. The cost, effort and resources it takes to produce meat, far outweigh the cost, effort and resources it takes to grow vegetables. On top of caring for the animals, slaughtering, and transporting the pieces of meat to individual households, farmers must also grow the food that the animals eat. By eating greens, we make the world slight greener.
If being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t quite suit your palate, perhaps helping society – and the world – suits you better. With corporate social responsibility on the rise, there are many companies and brands that provides consumers with better ways to spend, which services both the consumer, and someone else in need. Some companies donate a percentage of their profits to a non-profit organisation while others prefer donating the same type of item that their customers purchase, to someone else in need of the item. There are even more now who provide their customers with incentives to give away a specific item, so that they can either recycle, upcycle or donate these goods to others in need. In light of the recent trend of online deals, there are also several websites that provide customers with discounts, while at the same time provide an act of greater good to society, whether the company donates, volunteer services, or via any other means.
My moment of inspiration for the birth of this editorial occurred on one mundane Friday morning. A coffee place where I usually go for my morning coffee runs was donating all of its proceeds for the day to a non-profit organisation. Initially, I had assumed that this cafe would be donating its profits for the day, thereby essentially not needing to forgo much. I was blissfully proven wrong. The money that patrons were supposed to pay for their orders was inserted into a clear container. Naturally, most patrons donated more than the cost of their orders. The transparency of the operation affected me in a deep, gnawing way. It kept bugging me in unexpected times. I could not shake the thought of how much I wanted to support and render good deeds in the world.
My vision for the The Good Advocate is to influence others to make better choices for themselves, their communities, the environment, and ultimately the world on a daily basis. One does not need to change one’s lifestyle, character, or even the inherent way one lives. After all, if you can make just a tiny change a day to make a huge difference in the world without it being an inconvenience, there really is no reason that you should not try.
To learn more about the vision of The Good Advocate, do read the Manifesto.