You Can Save the World This ThanksGIVING and Beyond

Posted By on November 21, 2011

The news these days centers around the economy, job creation, the 99% vs. the 1%, the Occupy protests and clashes with police, the Super Congress committee and wars waging around the world. It’s enough to send the pluckiest optimist on a serious downer.

There are ways you can help people around the world. See my ideas below.With the situation we’re all experiencing in some way or the other, it’s easy to become apathetic with everything. At work, a co-worker asked me about the Occupy protests, the 99% and what it all meant. After I shared what I knew about it, my co-worker asked in exasperation, “Okay, so what are we supposed to do about all of that?”

Good question. It’s very easy to believe that we as individuals can’t fix the world’s problems. We celebrate Thanksgiving this week, a day that is supposed to be full of gratitude, and we all know so many people who are suffering. But what can we do? Turns out we can do plenty.

Kiva. Anytime I feel sorry for myself, I go on Kiva and make a loan to someone who is in a tougher situation.  I heard about Kiva from Jason Womack, a time management expert who I met when he worked for David Allen Co. Kiva is an organization where you can make micro-loans of $25 to people around the world.  The loans are used by individuals or community groups to expand their businesses and homes, and they each have a profile and updates.

As the loans are paid back, you receive a notice of payment via email, and you can choose to re-loan the money to someone else, donate it to Kiva for their expenses, or cash out.

Create Jobs for USA. Howard Schulz, the CEO of Starbucks, has begun a new program with Opportunity Finance Network that launched Nov. 1. You can go online or go to a local Starbucks and donate $5 or more to the fund. The fund will be used to help finance community businesses.

Starbucks has put up the first $5 million. For your donation, you can opt to receive a special bracelet.

Heifer International. This global organization helps create self-sustaining families and communities by providing them with animals, such as chickens, bees and  cows. For the person who has everything, send a flock of chickens in their name to a family.

There are many other ways to change the world – or at least our small corner of it. What do you do that changes the world? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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