Want to change the world? Here’s how to start


Playing with a Soccket, a ball that generates energy. Buying one means giving a child the opportunity to join a Soccket team and learn.

In the last six weeks, I was studying at Wesleyan University. Through Coursera, that is. I was enrolled in the course How to change the world, in which we have been looking at a broad range of issues facing our planet, and on ways how we can change the world for the better. In those six weeks, we have seen many great examples of how people are working to tackle issues like extreme poverty, epidemic diseases, gender equality and climate change. And in the final lectures, we saw some Wesleyan students share their thoughts and experiences on how to change the world. But with all these important topics, and big efforts to tackle them, it might become overwhelming for those who want to start making a change themselves. So, in this post, I wanted to share my views on how you can start making a difference, some learnings I took from the course and also some tips from change makers in my ‘crowd’ (I asked my social networks for a golden tip to start making a change).
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The small forest that needs a bit of cleaning

Pristine path last winter, but under the snow..

Pristine path last winter, but under the snow..

There’s a small forest in the town where I live. You can enter it without crossing any type of barriers, apart from the trees and bushes making it hard to access in most places. There’s a path through part of it, created through usage more than anything else. A good example of a desire path.

The forest is also home to several animals. I’ve seen several types of birds, including a wood pecker, but have also encountered deer there, who either live in this forest, or see it as part of their territory. I’m not completely sure if the forest is a commons, but it is treated as such. Thus, comparable to the pasture as described in ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ by Garrett Hardin, this forest can be treated as as a commons for the purpose of this post.

Many people who I have seen using this small forest, are passing through from a residential neighbourhood to a field. Almost all of them, including me, use it as a part of their daily dog walking routine. And then of course there is the wildlife. For me, a big part of the ‘usage’ I have from this forest, is the enjoyment of having wildlife so close to home; it gives me my daily dose of forest bathing, or shinrinyoku as it is called in Japan.
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Back to school and loving it

Taking a class on Coursera

Taking a class on Coursera

Going to school with 20000 students from all over the globe? Not a problem these days, and you can even stay at home while doing so. There are several offerings, but I recently tried out Coursera. To be honest: I started a course before, and dropped out after the first week. But this time I told my self to finish it. And I’m glad I did.
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