By Fredrica Syren:
I don’t think you ever choose to become an activist, but that you choose to be active. That is how my journey toward activism began many years ago. I grew up in a household where activism was strong. When I was seven years old, I asked my mom for an orange while we were grocery shopping. My mom told me she would not buy them because they were from South Africa and that the government there held a man named Nelson Mandela in prison because of his calls for a colorblind South Africa. Until the day I watched Nelson Mandela walk out as a free man after 27 years in 1990, I never would buy anything from South Africa.
Becoming an activist is saying that today is the perfect day for YOU to take action on something YOU care about. I became really active once I had children. As I said before, I always had been active about things, but activism became my passion and then my job in October 2006 when I first held my beautiful little girl. I looked at her and suddenly realized how much bad stuff is out there, and how we’re trashing the planet our children will inherit from us. I really felt I needed to make a difference because I care and because I want a healthy, good life my for my kids. I also believe that sustainable change starts with ourselves; only then will we make an impact.
First, I changed the way we live our daily life and consciously made these choices: to use cloth diapers and nontoxic household cleaners; to eat a vegetarian diet from locally produced food; not to buy plastic, toxic toys; not to over-consume, and on and on we go.
The fact is that anyone can become an activist because they care and want change. The fact is that there are no schools, no programs and no degrees in activism. Read, listen and learn about what you care about. Activists come in all shapes and sizes, and have different backgrounds. The one thing they all have in common is that they care.
I have days when I wonder why I do this and if I’m making progress. On some days I sound like a broken record, but activism is all about patient and persistence. Just keep going and you will make a difference..