Politics: The Youth Factor
What does it mean to be political these days? How can someone get politically engaged – especially if they don’t know where even to get started?
I spoke to Ciara O’Riordan about all these things recently. Read here some excerpts, or check out the full interview here.
Ciara O’Riordan: Being politically active can mean so much more than running for local office and trying to get elected. What other avenues can young people who are interested in politics take to become more politically immersed?
Christina Wunder: Indeed, there are many other forms of political action. That could be campaigning ahead of a referendum. It could also mean supporting an environmental cause, volunteering in your community or taking part in charity activities. It can be speaking up and calling others out when injustice is done.
Sometimes even talking about something can become powerful political action. Lauren Singer for example, started to document her transition towards a zero-waste lifestyle back in 2012. Through her blog and YouTube channel, she reaches millions of people and encourages them to produce less waste. She does so by suggesting simple and easy-to-follow steps – from avoiding disposable coffee cups to creating your own package-free products. She lobbies for more sustainable waste management, and does advocacy work for example with the United Nations or UNICEF. I find it inspiring to see how something that seems small at the beginning, can grow into powerful action. That’s why we always have to remember, everything starts with taking a small first step – and the stamina to keep at it.
Therefore, my advice to everyone who wants to get politically active would be to start with small, easy and doable steps. Try to read and learn more about the issue you care about. What’s the story behind it? What are the problems, and what could be potential solutions? Are there people or organizations that are already trying to do something about it? Who are they? Who are the people and institutions in charge? Could you reach out to them? In this book “Lobbying for change”, the activist Alberto Alemanno suggests a step-by-step guide on how to get active and have an impact on something.