Change as a Voluntary Calling

By guest blogger Zack Schmetterling:

Trying to influence unwelcoming social situations is tough. Not only activists, but even more laid back individuals, understand that it takes hard work to engage with the community. We all know what doesn’t work and we’d like to see the changes happen… yesterday.

Perhaps few of us realize, though, that social change, regardless of the arena of individual interest, may be regarded as a private, voluntary calling. A need originally cultivated within the individual, which then goes on to spread outwardly. We seem to be living in a world that is really afraid of transformation because it is certain to bring with it an element of destabilization. Therefore certain barriers seem to have been installed, in order to protect society from the change that individuals may, instead, desire. So what are the obstacles standing in the way of innovation?

Addressing local politics in the TEDtalk above, Dave Meslin identifies seven barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, and offers ways to overcome them. Meslin has inspired a new generation of urban activists in Canada, with his theatrical approach to public protest. An inspiring community activist and professional rabble-rouser, he has successfully blended the worlds of mainstream politics and grassroots activism to make a difference in his own backyard: Toronto.

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