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13 Ways to Change the World

Last Updated: June 5, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Direct Relief and by wikiHow staff writer, Dev Murphy, MA . Direct Relief is an award-winning humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries. They focus on helping people affected by emergencies and natural disasters. Direct Relief has been highly rated by Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania, for their effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 927,346 times.

The world may be big, but even small changes can make a major difference! Adopting a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle, being kind, and staying positive are key to changing the world around you. Wondering where to start? We've got it covered! Keep reading for tips to improving the planet, from the local to the global.

Things You Should Know

  • Volunteer with an organization that's meaningful to you.
  • Donate to charities that help people or animals in need.
  • Vote and get involved in local politics.
  • Minimize your waste and reduce your carbon footprint.

Be kind to others.

Be an animal advocate..

Stand up for animal rights!

  • Encourage and vote for legislation that protects animals.
  • Only buy products that do not contribute to animal abuse.
  • Donate to charities which help animals, such as the Humane Society, The Marine Mammal Center, or the Performing Animal Welfare Society.

Jane Goodall

Take action in your own life to protect the environment. "You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

Donate menstrual products.

Providing tampons and pads to people who need them will make a huge difference.

  • Not having access to menstrual products leads to humiliation and isolation at best, and at worst discomfort and even life-threatening infections.
  • By donating items and money to charities that work to solve this problem, you'll be keeping menstruating people healthy and help them to do things like attend school and work so that they get the opportunity to better their own lives.
  • There are lots of organizations that help get menstrual products to people who need them and educate young people about menstruation, including Period and Days for Girls .

Donate to charities you believe in.

A little money could end up doing a lot of good for a lot of people.

  • Short on cash? You don't necessarily have to donate money. Some nonprofits accept educational materials, clothing, or other supplies. Call or email to ask what they need.
  • You could also volunteer or be part of fundraising efforts for charities that do good abroad. Run a half marathon or other fundraiser to raise funds for an international charity of your choice.

Be an ethical consumer.

Buy fair trade.

  • Fair trade items will almost always be labeled as such. If you're unsure if something is fair trade, try to at least avoid items that are often unethically sourced. Coffee, bananas, cocoa, many tropical fruits, wine (mainly from California), clothing items (mainly from China, Bangladesh, and SE Asia) and jewelry are often unethically sourced.
  • By buying these products as much as possible, you can show companies that you think these practices are worth a few extra pennies and encourage other companies to invest in these practices as well.

Volunteering with a local charity is a great way to improve the world around you.

  • Tutoring disadvantaged kids, working at a local soup kitchen, or volunteering with a charity like Habitat for Humanity are just a few ways you can make a difference in your town.
  • Besides the obvious benefits of donating your time and energy to a cause you believe in, volunteering has been associated with improved physical and mental health and lower levels of loneliness. [4] X Research source

Be civically engaged.

Get involved in local politics.

  • In the United States, only about 50% to 60% of eligible voters actually vote during the presidential election, and 35% to 40% vote in midterm elections. [5] X Research source
  • Imagine the changes people might enact if 90% of people voted during presidential elections and 60% of people voted during midterms!

Invest in small businesses.

Invest your money where it’ll make a difference.

  • Because small businesses often have lower overhead costs than bigger businesses, you’ll likely get a higher return on your investment—more importantly, the small business will get what it needs to contribute to that economy and community. [6] X Research source
  • This is an especially good way to help women and other vulnerable groups to support themselves.

Promote awareness of important issues.

Educate others about the things that matter.

Be positive.

Hold onto hope.

  • This can be small things like making someone a birthday present, or big things like driving someone around until they get their car fixed. When we work together, everything runs more smoothly and we're better able to further invest those gains in benefiting the rest of the globe.

Get to know your neighbors.

How well do you know the people who live right next to you?

  • Introducing yourself to your neighbors , chatting with them when you see them, or even inviting them over for a neighborhood gathering can increase morale in your community. Bonus: it'll make you feel great, too!

Minimize waste.

Reduce your carbon footprint.

  • You can get an idea of how big your carbon footprint is by using the EPA’s carbon footprint calculator .
  • Not littering, and cleaning up trash that you do find, even if someone else dropped it
  • Reducing the waste you produce and composting
  • Conserving water and growing some of your own food
  • Cutting down on your electricity usage (or buying and installing solar panels for your home, if you’re able) [10] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Department of Energy Official site for the U.S. Department of Energy, which provides resources related to energy safety, conservation, and efficiency Go to source
  • Switching to public transit, a bike, or an electric vehicle
  • Not buying more food than you can eat
  • Buying used clothing instead of new clothes

Become an organ donor.

One donor can provide life-saving organs for up to 8 people.

  • You don't have to stop at becoming an organ donor: you can also sign up to donate blood . Every 2 seconds, someone in the country needs a blood transfusion. [12] X Trustworthy Source Red Cross Blood Donation Services Website run by the Red Cross Organization providing information about how and where to donate blood safely Go to source Check out the Red Cross's website to find out where to donate blood in your area.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Tips from our Readers

  • Smile at a stranger. It may sound simple, but one of the best things you can do is spread happiness. Smiling has been proven to make the person doing it happier, so when you smile and someone smiles back, you just made yourself and another a little bit happier!
  • Donate blood, platelets, or plasma! By doing this, you can save lives. If you're apprehensive or afraid of needles, remember that it only pinches for a second, and that one little pinch can result in up to three lives being saved.
  • Helping animals may not seem important to many people, but it actually is important to take good care of them because they may not be able to take care of themselves, which causes an imbalance in the world's ecosystems.
  • Be kind everyday! A small act of kindness can change the whole world. It will change how you look at other people and how others see you!
  • Share this article on your social media platforms so that more and more people participate in making the world a better place.
  • Always research organizations you want to help or donate to. Some organizations, even if they're "real" charities, still spend almost none of the donated money on actually helping people. Use tools like Charity Watch and the BBB to get more information on an organization. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Go on a Hunger Strike Safely

Expert Interview

how to make world a better place essay

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about humanitarian aid, check out our in-depth interview with Direct Relief .

  • ↑ https://createthegood.aarp.org/volunteer-ideas/protect-wildlife.html
  • ↑ https://hr.uw.edu/cfd/2023/06/27/menstrual-equity/
  • ↑ https://www.fairtradecertified.org/why-fair-trade
  • ↑ https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/3-health-benefits-of-volunteering
  • ↑ https://fairvote.org/resources/voter-turnout/
  • ↑ https://fastercapital.com/content/Reasons-to-Invest-in-Small-Businesses.html
  • ↑ https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2019/08/15/facts-about-neighbors-in-u-s/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happy-singlehood/202006/know-your-neighbor-especially-now
  • ↑ https://www.derby.ac.uk/blog/seven-top-tips-reduce-environmental-impact/
  • ↑ https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/10/f37/Energy_Saver_Guide-2017-en.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.organdonor.gov/sign-up/why
  • ↑ https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/news/article/blood-donation-importance.html

About This Article

Direct Relief

To make the world a better place, start with small changes close to home like volunteering with a local charity, buying products that are made or grown locally, and voting in community elections. To make a global impact, donate to trustworthy international charities, buy fair trade certified products, and take measures to protect the environment, such as conserving energy, reducing waste, and composting organic waste. To learn how to make monetary investments that are globally positive, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Make the World a Better Place Essay

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Disclaimer: This paper has been submitted by a student. This is not a sample of the work written by professional academic writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of StudySaurus.

Topic: The Role of Education for A Better and Fairer Future

“Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self-respect. If only the real sense of education could be realized by each individual and carried forward in every field of human activity, the world will be so much a better place to live in.” D.R A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Much has been written about education, its importance and how the current system of education is not helping us get anywhere. So, to talk about this matter of significant value we need to understand what it truly means. Education is a process that doesn’t only facilitate learning, but above all focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and skills hoping, to change our beliefs and habits for the better.

The world we live in has no shortage of problems. These problems are complex, pervasive, and affect all of us. We all have legitimate ambitions for a happier, fairer and more humane life. Addressing these issues represents a major challenge that calls upon the active and collaborative effort of all sectors of society and a clear awareness of the central role of education.

Since the beginning of the history of man itself, the role of education has been unclear and in times like ours, its function has remained ambiguous. See when we talk about education we mainly observe that there are people divided on what it means. Some who believe that knowledge is more important while others who would argue that No, learning is the more important one. Engaged in these futile arguments we forget that we’re only seeing one side of the story, one piece of the puzzle. Education requires a perfect balance of both, learning and knowledge. A mix of the rigid and the flexible, the rigidity of concrete fact and the flexibility of creative imagination. A Yin and Yang if I would say. In fights like these, we have yet again proved the impossible (in a sinister way that is) we’ve managed to divide ourselves on another level.

These arguments have arisen over the current education system, dividing us into two groups, the people who support it, mainly teachers and the people who are against it, the students. We, as students need to realize the importance of time management for coping with huge amounts of portion and the parents and teachers should not pressure the students so much. And above all we all need to realize that true learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom.

Riddle me this, if we didn’t argue as much as we do and try to convince the other side to see the sense in ours, but instead put in an effort in working together, realizing that we all have our differences, but united on the simple fact that we’re all human, where do you think we would be right now?

Making the World a Better Place

Every individual’s life is influenced by the choices they make. When we’re concerned about matters like food, survival, shelter and other resources we’re making the most basic choices ever. Education helps us to make better choices. Education is a constructive way to provide answers to the questions we look for. It fulfills our curiosity, helping us learn. Consequently, we have a deeper understanding of the world around us than we did before. This deep understanding enables us to dive deeper, to be fearless and to ask questions that have never been asked before. That is the single, most fundamental reason we make progress.

I mean, think about it, we live in the most revolutionary period of man. Why? It’s mainly because education and facts are available to a large section of our society. When we look back at the history of man, we realize something We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

In the long run, standards of living are determined by productivity. Without education, people are limited to poorly paid manual labor or even subsistence agriculture. Just to work in a modern factory today, you must be literate and numerate. Even agriculture today requires understanding which seed varieties to choose and how and when to apply water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

Furthermore, education is vital to understanding important life decisions such as understanding the importance of family planning and human life we all share. Sure, there are a lot of problems, but we can solve them, together.

We must understand that the importance of education cannot be measured. Its value is unmatchable. Without it stems from ignorance, frustration, anger, and demise. With it, solutions, alternatives, and new ideas can be brought forth to further improve the evolution of mankind. With each generation, we are taking one step forward in a direction that will further address world issues such as environmental awareness, famine, disease, and war. Education can help immensely in achieving this seemingly utopian future. From hunters and gatherers to people who can theorize how the universe works, building a peaceful, efficient, and growing species is all based on the evolution of our education. There is no purpose nobler than putting mind over matter and using our brain for the betterment of everyone.

Moreover, when we get educated we influence others in our life, directly or indirectly. We all know a man is a social being and craves the approval of her/his fellow beings. This has developed a sort of herd mentality and while it is true that we should “break the mold” and nothing ever good came from the following someone, we need to be aware what that mold is and how to break it. That and so much more can be achieved by education. It is our saving grace, which will lead us all to a brighter and bolder future.

And if history is any indicator, our present has been influenced by the choices of the past. And despite all its problems, modern society has hope and potential to grow.

So, let’s not squander this opportunity given to us by our forefathers and make a change in our demeanor for the better. One thing that we must do and do well is balance societal goals (curing diseases, building things, world peace, etc.) with the pursuit of material wealth. We need both; but, of course, traditionally people are too concerned with the latter. We need to create a society where we will be able to achieve this balance. For only then will we truly understand the importance of education because it isn’t a big fat paycheck or a promotion you get from your senior, it’s more than that.

Education is our passport for tomorrow, a better tomorrow.

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How to Make the World a Better Place

Updated 06 April 2023

Subject Sayings

Downloads 62

Category Life

Topic Making The World a Better Place

Making the world a better place

is something that many people want to do, but may not know how to get started. It is a daunting task, but the truth is that small and simple changes can make a big impact.

The first step: Set a goal

The first step is to think about what you would like to achieve in your life. Then write that goal down on paper. This will help you focus your energy on what matters most in your life, and inspire you to work towards that goal.

Helping others

One of the most effective ways to make the world a better place is by helping others. This can be in a variety of ways, including donating money to charities or volunteering your time.

Reduce waste and pollution

Another way to make the world a better place is to reduce your waste and pollution. This can be done by limiting the amount of garbage that you throw away, and by choosing to reuse or recycle whenever possible. This is not only good for the environment, but it also helps to reduce your own carbon footprint, which will save you money in the long run!

Buying less and using more locally produced goods is another great way to make the world a better place. This is a great way to support local businesses and will help reduce global environmental problems, such as pollution and overfishing.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and can be an excellent way to improve your own mental health by spending time with people who need your help. If you are looking to make the world a better place, consider giving your time to volunteer at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, or other charitable organization. You can help them out by bringing food, cleaning, or by giving them a listening ear. Doing these things is also a great way to spend your free time, and you will feel rewarded at the end of the day by knowing that you helped someone else.

Kindness matters

Treating other people with kindness is a great way to make the world a better and more beautiful place. This can be as simple as saying hello to a homeless person, or as serious as donating your time and skills to a charity. This is a great way to make the world better because you can actually see your impact. You can show other people what a difference you make, and it will inspire them to be more compassionate as well.

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The power of many

The world could use more people who are willing to give their time and resources to other causes. The more people who make the world a better place, the more we can do to change the world.

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50 Small Ways to Help Make the World a Better Place

person holding world globe facing mountain

Here are 50 small ways you can help make the world a better place. This is not an exhaustive list, but it highlights some ideas that everyone can take part in.

Just think about it.

If we all did one small thing now and then, such as making a change, doing something to make a difference or a random act of kindness,  imagine the impact we could have on the world!

Small changes. Daily moments of kindness. LITTLE things . 

They matter

Once I made a change and started focussing on the small things I could do on any given day to help make the world a better place, my life and my mental health started to improve too.

50 Small Ways You Can Help Make the World a Better Place

  • Reuse, recycle and donate
  • Write someone a thank you note (it could even be anonymous!)
  • Tell someone they did a good job. Better yet, tell their boss!
  • Give up your seat to someone on the bus or train
  • Step through life with honesty and integrity
  • Adopt a rescue pet
  • Pass along your knowledge by mentoring someone
  • Decrease your environmental footprint
  • Do what you love. That alone will inspire others
  • Spend ‘unplugged’ time with your kids. Give them 100% of your attention
  • Start a worm farm at home – it’s amazing how many different types of things worms can eat, with the byproducts going back into your garden to feed your plants!
  • Sprinkle kindness like it’s confetti
  • Donate blood or plasma
  • Have fun. There’s way too much seriousness in the world, and by you leading the way, others might just have fun too!
  • Tell the people you love how much they mean to you
  • Don’t litter
  • Support your local arts and music scene – get out to see some live bands or musos perform
  • Listen without passing judgement
  • Read and share positive stories, stories of hope, resilience and love
  • Instead of driving, walk, ride or catch the bus
  • Focus on the positive
  • Don’t listen to, or participate in, gossip (on or offline)
  • Grow your own fruit and vegetables
  • Give gifts without the expectation of anything in return
  • Cook someone a hearty meal, either in person or leave it on their doorstep
  • Be a responsible pet owner. Keep your cat inside at night
  • Create. Paint, sculpt, draw, knit, write a poem, or produce a song
  • Say thank you
  • Don’t judge others. Remember, you have no idea what is going on in someone’s life until you have walked in their shoes
  • Express gratitude often. I like to make gratitude a habit !
  • Share your knowledge with someone
  • Smile and say hello to everyone you pass on the street
  • Ditch fast fashion and embrace the slow fashion movement
  • Send people Birthday and Christmas cards in the snail mail
  • Drive patiently. It’s not a race. And put away your phone. You don’t need it when you drive!
  • Give an elderly person some of your time – sit, talk, listen
  • Please pick up your dog’s poop (my personal pet peeve!)
  • Create a bee and bird-friendly garden
  • Be more considerate of others
  • Pay it forward. i.e. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the queue
  • Travel respectfully
  • Don’t buy trashy magazines or click on click-bait headlines
  • Help someone carry their shopping bags to their car
  • Research and get involved in sustainability programs in your local neighbourhood. If there aren’t any, start your own!
  • Learn about other cultures, faiths, ideas, languages, people, history
  • Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. All of the time
  • Ask someone how they are and mean it. Give them your full attention when they respond – practice active listening .

If you loved this article then you might like these:

  • Living Differently in 2023: Tips and Inspiration for a Better Life
  • By being different and doing things differently, you will lead the way
  • The Health Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

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55 Transcript — “How To Make the World a Better Place by 2030” (2015) + Update (2018)

Do you think the world is going to be a better place next year? In the next decade? Can we end hunger, achieve gender equality, halt climate change, all in the next 15 years?

Well, according to the governments of the world, yes we can. In the last few days, the leaders of the world, meeting at the UN in New York, agreed a new set of Global Goals for the development of the world to 2030. And here they are: these goals are the product of a massive consultation exercise. The Global Goals are who we, humanity, want to be.

Now that’s the plan, but can we get there? Can this vision for a better world really be achieved? Well, I’m here today because we’ve run the numbers, and the answer, shockingly, is that maybe we actually can. But not with business as usual.

Now, the idea that the world is going to get a better place may seem a little fanciful. Watch the news every day and the world seems to be going backwards, not forwards. And let’s be frank: it’s pretty easy to be skeptical about grand announcements coming out of the UN.

But please, I invite you to suspend your disbelief for just a moment. Because back in 2001, the UN agreed another set of goals, the Millennium Development Goals. And the flagship target there was to halve the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015. The target was to take from a baseline of 1990, when 36 percent of the world’s population lived in poverty, to get to 18 percent poverty this year.

Did we hit this target? Well, no, we didn’t. We exceeded it. This year, global poverty is going to fall to 12 percent. Now, that’s still not good enough, and the world does still have plenty of problems. But the pessimists and doomsayers who say that the world can’t get better are simply wrong.

So how did we achieve this success? Well, a lot of it was because of economic growth. Some of the biggest reductions in poverty were in countries such as China and India, which have seen rapid economic growth in recent years. So can we pull off the same trick again? Can economic growth get us to the Global Goals? Well, to answer that question, we need to benchmark where the world is today against the Global Goals and figure out how far we have to travel.

But that ain’t easy, because the Global Goals aren’t just ambitious, they’re also pretty complicated. Over 17 goals, there are then 169 targets and literally hundreds of indicators. Also, while some of the goals are pretty specific — end hunger — others are a lot vaguer — promote peaceful and tolerant societies.

So to help us with this benchmarking, I’m going to use a tool called the Social Progress Index. What this does is measures all the stuff the Global Goals are trying to achieve, but sums it up into a single number that we can use as our benchmark and track progress over time.

The Social Progress Index basically asks three fundamental questions about a society. First of all, does everyone have the basic needs of survival: food, water, shelter, safety? Secondly, does everyone have the building blocks of a better life: education, information, health and a sustainable environment? And does everyone have the opportunity to improve their lives, through rights, freedom of choice, freedom from discrimination, and access to the world’s most advanced knowledge?

The Social Progress Index sums all this together using 52 indicators to create an aggregate score on a scale of 0 to 100. And what we find is that there’s a wide diversity of performance in the world today. The highest performing country, Norway, scores 88. The lowest-performing country, Central African Republic, scores 31. And we can add up all the countries together, weighting for the different population sizes, and that global score is 61. In concrete terms, that means that the average human being is living on a level of social progress about the same of Cuba or Kazakhstan today.

That’s where we are today: 61 out of 100. What do we have to get to achieve the Global Goals?

Now, the Global Goals are certainly ambitious, but they’re not about turning the world into Norway in just 15 years. So having looked at the numbers, my estimate is that a score of 75 would not only be a giant leap forward in human well-being, it would also count as hitting the Global Goals target. So there’s our target, 75 out of 100. Can we get there?

Well, the Social Progress Index can help us calculate this, because as you might have noticed, there are no economic indicators in there; there’s no GDP or economic growth in the Social Progress Index model. And what that lets us do is understand the relationship between economic growth and social progress.

Let me show you on this chart. So here on the vertical axis, I’ve put social progress, the stuff the Global Goals are trying to achieve. Higher is better. And then on the horizontal axis, is GDP per capita. Further to the right means richer. And in there, I’m now going to put all the countries of the world, each one represented by a dot, and on top of that I’m going to put the regression line that shows the average relationship. And what this tells us is that as we get richer, social progress does tend to improve. However, as we get richer, each extra dollar of GDP is buying us less and less social progress. And now we can use this information to start building our forecast. So here is the world in 2015. We have a social progress score of 61 and a GDP per capita of $14,000. And the place we’re trying to get to, remember, is 75, that Global Goals target. So here we are today, $14,000 per capita GDP. How rich are we going to be in 2030? That’s what we need to know next. Well, the best forecast we can find comes from the US Department of Agriculture, which forecasts 3.1 percent average global economic growth over the next 15 years, which means that in 2030, if they’re right, per capita GDP will be about $23,000. So now the question is: if we get that much richer, how much social progress are we going to get? Well, we asked a team of economists at Deloitte who checked and crunched the numbers, and they came back and said, well, look: if the world’s average wealth goes from $14,000 a year to $23,000 a year, social progress is going to increase from 61 to 62.4.

Just 62.4. Just a tiny increase.

Now this seems a bit strange. Economic growth seems to have really helped in the fight against poverty, but it doesn’t seem to be having much impact on trying to get to the Global Goals. So what’s going on? Well, I think there are two things. The first is that in a way, we’re the victims of our own success. We’ve used up the easy wins from economic growth, and now we’re moving on to harder problems. And also, we know that economic growth comes with costs as well as benefits. There are costs to the environment, costs from new health problems like obesity.

So that’s the bad news. We’re not going to get to the Global Goals just by getting richer.

So are the pessimists right?

Well, maybe not. Because the Social Progress Index also has some very good news.  Let me take you back to that regression line. So this is the average relationship between GDP and social progress, and this is what our last forecast was based on. But as you saw already, there is actually lots of noise around this trend line.

What that tells us, quite simply, is that GDP is not destiny. We have countries that are

underperforming on social progress, relative to their wealth. Russia has lots of natural resource wealth, but lots of social problems. China has boomed economically, but hasn’t made much headway on human rights or environmental issues. India has a space program and millions of people without toilets. Now, on the other hand, we have countries that are over-performing on social progress relative to their GDP. Costa Rica has prioritized education, health and environmental sustainability, and as a result, it’s achieving a very high level of social progress, despite only having a rather modest GDP. And Costa Rica’s not alone. From poor countries like Rwanda to richer countries like New Zealand, we see that it’s possible to get lots of social progress, even if your GDP is not so great.

And that’s really important, because it tells us two things. First of all, it tells us that we already in the world have the solutions to many of the problems that the Global Goals are trying to solve. It also tells us that we’re not slaves to GDP. Our choices matter: if we prioritize the well-being of people, then we can make a lot more progress than our GDP might expect.

How much? Enough to get us to the Global Goals? Well, let’s look at some numbers. What we know already: the world today is scoring 61 on social progress, and the place we want to get to is 75. If we rely on economic growth alone, we’re going to get to 62.4. So let’s assume now that we can get the countries that are currently underperforming on social progress — the Russia, China, Indias — just up to the average. How much social progress does that get us? Well, that takes us to 65. It’s a bit better, but still quite a long way to go. So let’s get a little bit more optimistic and say, what if every country gets a little bit better at turning its wealth into well-being? Well then, we get to 67. And now let’s be even bolder still. What if every country in the world chose to be like Costa Rica in prioritizing human well-being, using its wealth for the well-being of its citizens? Well then, we get to nearly 73, very close to the Global Goals.

Can we achieve the Global Goals? Certainly not with business as usual. Even a flood tide of economic growth is not going to get us there, if it just raises the mega-yachts and the super-wealthy and leaves the rest behind. If we’re going to achieve the Global Goals we have to do things differently. We have to prioritize social progress, and really scale solutions around the world. I believe the Global Goals are a historic opportunity, because the world’s leaders have promised to deliver them. Let’s not dismiss the goals or slide into pessimism; let’s hold them to that promise. And we need to hold them to that promise by holding them accountable, tracking their progress all the way through the next 15 years.

And I want to finish by showing you a way to do that, called the People’s Report Card. The People’s Report Card brings together all this data into a simple framework that we’ll all be familiar with from our school days, to hold them to account. It grades our performance on the Global Goals on a scale from F to A, where F is humanity at its worst, and A is humanity at its best. Our world today is scoring a C-. The Global Goals are all about getting to an A, and that’s why we’re going to be updating the People’s Report Card annually, for the world and for all the countries of the world, so we can hold our leaders to account to achieve this target and fulfill this promise. Because getting to the Global Goals will only happen if we do things differently, if our leaders do things differently, and for that to happen, that needs us to demand it.

So let’s reject business as usual. Let’s demand a different path. Let’s choose the world that we want.

Bruno Giussani: Thank you, Michael. Michael, just one question: the Millennium Development Goals established 15 years ago, they were kind of applying to every country but it turned out to be really a scorecard for emerging countries. Now the new Global Goals are explicitly universal. They ask for every country to show action and to show progress. How can I, as a private citizen, use the report card to create pressure for action?

Michael Green: This is a really important point; it’s a big shift in priorities — it’s no longer about poor countries and just poverty. It’s about every country. And every country is going to have challenges in getting to the Global Goals. Even, I’m sorry to say, Bruno, Switzerland has got to work to do. And so that’s why we’re going to produce these report cards in 2016 for every country in the world. Then we can really see, how are we doing? And it’s not going to be rich countries scoring straight A’s. And that, then, I think, is to provide a point of focus for people to start demanding action and start demanding progress.

BG: Thank you very much.

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In 2015, the leaders of the world made a big promise. A promise that over the next 15 years, the lives of billions of people are going to get better with no one left behind. That promise is the Sustainable Development Goals — the SDGs. We’re now three years in; a fifth of the way into the journey. The clock is ticking. If we offtrack now, it’s going to get harder and harder to hit those goals. So what I want to do for you today is give you a snapshot on where we are today, some projections on where we’re heading and some ideas on things we might need to do differently.

Now, the SDGs are of course spectacularly complicated. I would expect nothing less from the United Nations.

How many goals? Maybe something tried and tested, like three, seven or 10. No, let’s pick a prime number higher than 10. Seventeen goals. I congratulate those of you who’ve memorized them already. For the rest of us, here they are.

Seventeen goals ranging from ending poverty to inclusive cities to sustainable fisheries; all a comprehensive plan for the future of our world. But sadly, a plan without the data to measure it. So how are we going to track progress? Well, I’m going to use today the Social Progress Index. It’s a measure of the quality of life of countries, ranging from the basic needs of survival — food, water, shelter, safety — through to the foundations of well-being — education, information, health and the environment — and opportunity — rights, freedom of choice, inclusiveness and access to higher education.

Now, the Social Progress Index doesn’t look like the SDGs, but fundamentally, it’s measuring the same concepts, and the Social Progress Index has the advantage that we have the data. We have 51 indicators drawn from trusted sources to measure these concepts. And also, what we can do because it’s an index, is add together all those indicators to give us an aggregate score about how we’re performing against the total package of the SDGs. Now, one caveat. The Social Progress Index is a measure of quality of life. We’re not looking at whether this can be achieved within the planet’s environmental limits. You will need other tools to do that.

So how are we doing on the SDGs? Well, I’m going to put the SDGs on a scale of zero to 100. And zero is the absolute worst score on each of those 51 indicators: absolute social progress, zero. And then 100 is the minimum standard required to achieve those SDGs. A hundred is where we want to get to by 2030. So, where did we start on this journey? Fortunately, not at zero. In 2015, the world score against the SDGs was 69.1. Some way on the way there but quite a long way to go.

Now let me also emphasize that this world forecast, which is based on data from 180 countries, is population weighted. So China has more weight in than Comoros; India has more weight in than Iceland. But we could unpack this and see how the countries are doing. And the country today that is closest to achieving the SDGs is Denmark. And the country with the furthest to go is Central African Republic. And everyone else is somewhere in between. So the challenge for the SDGs is to try and sweep all these dots across to the right, to 100 by 2030. Can we get there? Well, with the Social Progress Index, we’ve got some time series data. So we have some idea of the trend that the countries are on, on which we can build some projections.

So let’s have a look. Let’s start with our top-performing country, Denmark. And yes, I’m pleased to say that Denmark is forecast to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Maybe not surprising, but I’ll take a win. Let’s look at some of the other richer countries of the world — the G7. And we find that Germany and Japan will get there or thereabouts. But Canada, France, the UK and Italy are all going to fall short. And the United States? Quite some way back. Now, this is sort of worrying news. But these are the richest countries in the world, not the most populous. So let’s take a look now at the biggest countries in the world, the ones that will most affect whether or not we achieve the SDGs.

And here they are — countries in the world with a population of higher than 100 million, ranging from China to Ethiopia. Obviously, the US and Japan would be in that list, but we’ve looked at them already. So here we are. The biggest countries in the world; the dealbreakers for the SDGs. And the country that’s going to make most progress towards the SDGs is Mexico. Mexico is going to get to about 87, so just shy of where the US is going to get but quite some way off our SDG target. Russia comes next. Then China and Indonesia. Then Brazil — might’ve expected Brazil to do a bit better. Philippines, and then a step down to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, and then Ethiopia. So none of these countries are going to hit the SDGs. And we can then take these numbers in all the countries of the world to give ourselves a world forecast on achieving that total package of the SDGs. So remember, in 2015 we started at 69.1. I’m pleased to say that over the last three years, we have made some progress. In 2018, we’ve hit 70.5, and if we project that rate of progress forward to 2030, that’s going to get us to 75.2, which is obviously a long way short of our target. Indeed, on current trends, we won’t hit the 2030 targets until 2094. Now, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to wait that long.

So what can we do about this? Well, the first thing to do is we’ve got to call out the rich countries. Here are the countries closest to the SDGs, with the greatest resources, and they’re falling short. Maybe they think that this is like the Old World where goals for the UN are just for poor countries and not for them. Well, you’re wrong. The SDGs are for every country, and it’s shameful that these wealthy countries are falling short. Every country needs a plan to implement the SDGs and deliver them for their citizens. G7, other rich countries — get your act together.

The second thing we can do is look a bit further into the data and see where there are opportunities to accelerate progress or there are negative trends that we can reverse. So I’m going to take you into three areas. One where we’re doing quite well, one where we really should be doing better and another where we’ve got some real problems.

Let’s start with the good news, and I want to talk about what we call nutrition and basic medical care. This covers SDG 2 on no hunger and the basic elements of SDG 3 on health, so maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, etc … This is an area where most of the rich world has hit the SDGs. And we also find, looking at our big countries, that the most advanced have got pretty close. Here are our 11 big countries, and if you look at the top, Brazil and Russia are pretty close to the SDG target. But at the bottom — Ethiopia, Pakistan — a long way to go. That’s where we are in 2018. What’s our trajectory? On the current trajectory, how far are we going to get by 2030? Well, let’s have a look. Well, what we see is a lot of progress. See Bangladesh in the middle. If Bangladesh maintains its current rate of progress, it could get very close to that SDG target. And Ethiopia at the bottom is making a huge amount of progress at the moment. If that can be maintained, Ethiopia could get a long way. We add this all up for all the countries of the world and our projection is a score of 94.5 by 2030. And if countries like the Philippines, which have grown more slowly, could accelerate progress, then we could get a lot closer.

So there are reasons to be optimistic about SDGs 2 and 3. But there’s another very basic area of the SDGs where we’re doing less well, which is SDG 6, on water and sanitation. Again, it’s an SDG where most of the rich countries have already achieved the targets. And again, for our big countries — our big 11 emerging countries, we see that some of the countries, like Russia and Mexico, are very close to the target, but Nigeria and other countries are a very long way back. So how are we doing on this target? What progress are we going to make over the next 12 years based on the current direction of travel? Well, here we go … and yes, there is some progress. Our top four countries are all hitting the SDG targets — some are moving forward quite quickly. But it’s not enough to really move us forward significantly. What we see is that for the world as a whole, we’re forecasting a score of around 85, 86 by 2030 — not fast enough.

Now, obviously this is not good news, but I think what this data also shows is that we could be doing a lot better. Water and sanitation is a solved problem. It’s about scaling that solution everywhere. So if we could accelerate progress in some of those countries who are improving more slowly — Nigeria, the Philippines, etc. — then we could get a lot closer to the goal. Indeed, I think SDG 6 is probably the biggest opportunity of all the SDGs for a step change.

So that’s an area we could do better. Let’s look finally at an area where we are struggling, which is what we call personal rights and inclusiveness. This is covering concepts across a range of SDGs. SDG 1 on poverty, SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 10 on inequality, SDG 11 on inclusive cities and SDG 16 on peace and justice. So across those SDGs there are themes around rights and inclusiveness, and those may seem less immediate or pressing than things like hunger and disease, but rights and inclusion are critical to an agenda of no one left behind. So how are we doing on those issues? Let’s start off with personal rights. What I’m going to do first is show you our big countries in 2015. So here they are, and I’ve put the USA and Japan back in, so it’s our 13 biggest countries in the world. And we see a wide range of scores. The United States at the top with Japan hitting the goals; China a long way behind. So what’s been our direction of travel on the rights agenda over the last three years? Let’s have a look. Well, what we see is actually pretty ugly. The majority of the countries are standing still or moving backwards, and big countries like Brazil, India, China, Bangladesh have all seen significant declines. This is worrying.

Let’s have a look now at inclusiveness. And inclusiveness is looking at things like violence and discrimination against minorities, gender equity, LGBT inclusion, etc… And as a result, we see that the scores for our big countries are generally lower. Every country, rich and poor alike, is struggling with building an inclusive society. But what’s our direction of travel? Are we building more inclusive countries? Let’s have a look — progress to 2018. And again we see the world moving backwards: most countries static, a lot of countries going backwards — Bangladesh moving backwards — but also, two of the countries that were leading — Brazil and the United States — have gone backwards significantly over the last three years.

Let’s sum this up now for the world as a whole. And what we see on personal rights for the whole world is we’re forecasting actually a decline in the score on personal rights to about 60, and then this decline in the score of inclusiveness to about 42. Now, obviously these things can change quite quickly with rights and with changes in law, changes in attitudes, but we have to accept that on current trends, this is probably the most worrying aspect of the SDGs. How I’ve depressed you …

I hope not because I think what we do see is that progress is happening in a lot of places and there are opportunities for accelerating progress. We are living in a world that is tantalizingly close to ensuring that no one need die of hunger or malaria or diarrhea. If we can focus our efforts, mobilize resources, galvanize the political will, that step change is possible.

But in focusing on those really basic, solvable SDGs, we mustn’t forget the whole package. The goals are an unwieldy set of indicators, goals and targets, but they also include the challenges our world faces. The fact that the SDGs are focusing attention on the fact that we face a crisis in personal rights and inclusiveness is a positive. If we forget that, if we choose to double down on the SDGs that we can solve, if we go for SDG à la carte and pick the most easy SDGs, then we will have missed the point of the SDGs, we will miss the goals and we will have failed on the promise of the SDGs.

Essentials for ENGL-121 Copyright © 2016 by David Buck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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7 Ways to Make the World a Better Place

7 Ways to Make the World a Better Place

Author: E.C. LaMeaux

The idea of changing the world can be daunting. It's not only easy but understandable to think, "I’m only one person; what can I really do?" If every person thinks that, nothing will get done. But if every person did just one thing to make the world a better place today, billions of acts of kindness, social responsibility and generosity would take place — and wouldn’t that alone change the face of this planet?

Helen Keller said, "I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and just because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." That is the attitude in which authors Linda Catling and Jeffery Hollender wrote the book How to Make the World a Better Place: 116 Ways You Can Make a Difference. Here is a list of some of their ideas, and a few others, on how to make the world a better place one small action at a time.

1. Volunteer your time at local schools

Whether you have a school-age child or not, children are the future of this world. Spend time helping them reach their potential by tutoring, mentoring or taking part in an after-school program.

2. Recognize the humanity of other people, and respect their dignity

Consciously realize that the homeless man you pass on the street every day is, in fact, a man. Through choices of his own or circumstances out of his control, he ended up in this situation, and that makes him no less human. Say hello and warmly greet him. Your greeting could bring healing to his heart, and help heal the world one person at a time. Treat people as equals, no matter how you interpret their social standing.

3. Use less paper

Our forests are being cut down at an alarming rate. Conserve the trees by conserving paper. Send an e-mail instead of a letter, type directions into your cell phone instead of writing them down, and bring your own fabric shopping bags to the store.

4. Drive less

Even the use of hybrid vehicles contributes to carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and reduced air quality. Take a moment to consider how you can use your personal vehicle less. You could carpool or take public transportation to work, walk to church, or bike to pick up a few things from the store and make the world a better place.

5. Conserve water

Taking long showers and letting the water run as you brush your teeth are indulgences that negatively impact our world. Try to limit your water usage by timing how long you have the water running, and trying to beat that time the next time you turn on the faucet.

6. Donate to clean water charities

A large portion of the world is without fresh drinking water. Educate yourself about the drought epidemic, and make the world a better place by donating to organizations and charities helping to fight against the lack of clean water around the globe. Your donation could result in the reduction of preventable, water-related diseases.

7. Be generous

It's easy to be selfish with your time, money, and resources by getting caught up in our material-driven societal expectations. Try being generous and see how your life changes. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks, read to children at your local library, or simply stop and listen for the answer when you ask a friend how they're doing. Chances are that your generosity will energize you, and you'll feel less helpless about how to make the world a better place.

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Home / Essay Samples / Life / Making The World a Better Place / How Can We Make This World a Better Place

How Can We Make This World a Better Place

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Promoting sustainability, advancing education, empowering women and promoting gender equality, promoting peace and conflict resolution, fostering inclusivity and diversity, supporting healthcare and well-being, engaging in acts of kindness and philanthropy.

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