Who Cares?
01 December 2006

With a name like For A Change the choice of theme for the last lead story was an obvious one: living with change. And of course it’s not only at milestone moments like these that we face change. We wake up to it every day — global change, institutional change, personal change.

Read the papers and watch the television and you are left with the feeling that the world is in chaos — environmentally, morally, spiritually. The founder of Initiatives of Change, Frank Buchman, believed that the only thing to do in a crisis was to help people to change. If that is true, we’ve all got a lot of work to do — starting with ourselves. And therein lies some of the best news the world has ever heard — that however bad things get there is always the next step for each of us to take.

Here in the UK, there are signs of a growing awareness of the need to live with a conscience; department stores invite consumers to drink fair-trade beverages; the Post Office encourages people to make small changes at home such as using energy-saving light bulbs; and a bunch of people called We Are What We Do have launched a global movement calling for small actions which can affect real change in other people and the planet.

In their first book, Change the World For a Fiver (Short Books, 2004), they promoted 50 ethical actions from recycling mobile phones to refusing plastic bags. A Ugandan head teacher read the book and launched an ‘antibigamy’ campaign to combat a big problem in his country. Now there’s a new book, Change the World 9 to 5 (Short Books, 2006) with 50 actions aimed at large organisations: businesses, hospitals, schools.

Some might say that such initiatives trivialise the seriousness of the change needed in our world. What I like about them is the attitude of care they engender in folk. For, as someone once said, ‘What the world most needs is deep people’. That is surely worth reflecting on as we approach Christmas with its invitation to a New Year.

Laura Boobbyer