On How to Save the World

A handy guide for effecting genuine social change. Follow these five simple steps and you’re sure to succeed!

Step 1: Recognise and accept the difficulties
If there’s an issue that needs changing, it’s because our society currently thinks it’s easiest and/or for the best that we leave things as they are. They may well deny this, claiming to think equality and saving the planet is great, but ultimately most people who swear they’re not racist will also end up arguing that it’s ‘too much work’ to have to, y’know, not be racist. This applies to sexism, environmentalism, homophobia, classism, and many other issues.

Step 2: Overcome your growing misanthropy
As you meet more and more people in your campaign against that thing in human society you really hate, you will gradually realise that if humans didn’t exist, that bad thing wouldn’t exist either. This frequently leads to high levels of misanthropy in both amateur and professional campaigners, and can be a difficult phase to get out of. Unfortunately, it will never go away completely, but most find that a combination of excessive optimism, annoyingly inspiring fellow-campaigners and alcoholic tendencies help them to cope with their urge to kill everyone and start society afresh.

Step 3: Organise a clever and logical campaign
This should be something that provides a really smart way to change people’s behaviours and attitudes, and is wholly ingenious and relatively simple to put into practice. There’s no point giving you suggestions, because every campaign needs a different approach. Just figure out how to circumvent people’s innate biases, laziness and miserliness and be interested in recycling and trans rights instead!

Step 4: Organise a highly publicised campaign
It should be very popular on social media platforms, but rarely achieve anything beyond that hallowed ‘increased awareness’, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, or wearing a safety pin. It might not be useful for creating social change as your original campaign was, but being famous on the internet means strangers will know who you are. This will let you keep trying to run helpful campaigns once most people have forgotten about the pro-recycling hashtag that you started on Twitter that was retweeted by Emma Watson AND Greenpeace!!

Step 5: Continue to work diligently for many years*
Genuine social change usually takes at least a whole generation or longer to occur. To stop people from saying that you are a ‘quitter’ and that ‘you never really cared and it was all for the fame’ you will have to spend most of the rest of your life working in the same field and doing boring things like doing the accountancy work on your funding and telling people the same thing over and over again in identical-looking conference rooms in hotels across the country. Change will come, and you will be proud of your efforts, but still always feel like you failed in actually changing enough. Congratulations! You’re not a quitter, you changed the world, and now you have to hope it stays changed for the better. Have a gold star, and maybe someone will give you a Nobel Prize.

*Alternatively, you can choose to die young and hopefully become a martyr for whatever the social change you were campaigning for happened to be. This works best if you die in some kind of accident related to supporting your cause, preferably due to humans who oppose it. Being shot by the cops whilst protesting police brutality is a good example, although already widely used.

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