The following is a guest post written by Jessica Arinella, creator of What You Can Do. What You Can Do is a video series of one-minute episodes that highlights pressing social issues and then offers tips on how to help, even if you only have a minute of time to spare. I’m really excited to present this article to my readers; take a few minutes to read this, and you’ll be armed with 10 new ways to help create positive change in NYC and beyond.
What You Can Do in NYC: 10 Easy Ways to Take Positive Action on Tough Issues
By Jessica Arinella, creator of What You Can Do series
Though you may not notice if you met me on the street, I occasionally walk around with thisfeeling I have named ISD (impending sense of doom). I find ISD most often comes up after watching the evening news, reading the paper or seeing any of those very upsetting commercials that involve animal adoption. I know many people share my desire to be “of use” in the world, but like me feel either too overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue or too busy to take action.
But after losing my mother to cancer, something in me changed. I became so tired of feeling helpless and desperate that I was willing to try anything to make a difference, even if I failed. So I took a leap of faith and with the help of my sister’s production company On the Leesh, I created a television and web series called What You Can Do. In one minute episodes, the series spotlights easy ways to fight social and environmental issues such as hunger, poverty and global warming.
What You Can Do premiered with 21 episodes on WLIW, and now more than 260 videos can be viewed on the series web site. Episodes feature the latest insight from respected organizations such as City Harvest, Defenders of Wildlife and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
My experience creating What You Can Do has profoundly changed me and the way I look at our world’s most pressing issues. I learned that there are small steps we can take that add up to real change, and it has given me a renewed sense of hope. I now believe that change is possible in our local communities or even the world, one minute at a time.
There are many ways to make positive impact on issues that affect our beloved New York. Below is a list of one minute ideas and What You Can Do videos designed for busy life in the city:
1. Many of the world famous restaurants in New York participate in City Harvest’s program to “rescue” food for people in need. Show your support by choosing a restaurant that gives excess food to benefit the 1 in 10 New Yorkers facing hunger. View What You Can Do episode on NYC restaurants fighting hunger. *Download City Harvest’s restaurant guide: http://www.cityharvest.org/restaurant-guide/
2. You can also help conserve water while dining out. When you are no longer thirsty, put a napkin over your water glass so your server will know not to refill it. If 25 percent of Americans declined the complimentary glass of drinking water while dining out, we could save 26 million gallons of water. View What You Can Do episode on water conservation at restaurants.
3. We are lucky in NYC to have wonderful public transit. Now that the weather is nicer, skip the cab and opt for the subway. According to the EPA, using public transportation just twice a week can reduce green house gas emissions (that contribute to global warming) by an average of 1600 pounds per year. View What You Can Do episode on climate change on the road.
4. Heading to the beach this summer? Help keep our oceans clean and wildlife safe by disposing of or recycling your trash. When possible, bring reusable water bottles and containers to the beach to bring home with you. View What You Can Do episode on protecting our oceans.
5. Arts education is essential to give NYC kids opportunities to nurture their inner Picasso or Shakespeare. Help children bring their stories to life by granting a wish for Story Pirates, an arts and creative writing organization. View What You Can Do episode on Arts in Education in NYC.
6. Most New Yorkers have hectic schedules, but small changes to our daily routines can make a huge difference. The EPA estimates that a family of four can use up to 400 gallons of water a day, but could save 240 gallons a month by turning off the tap when brushing their teeth at morning and night. View What You Can Do episode on water conservation.
7. New Yorkers are some of the most caring people in the world. But New York can sometimes feel like a lonely place, especially for homebound senior citizens. Check with your local nursing home to see if they accept friendly letters and cards for their seniors. View What You Can Do episode on supporting the elderly.
8. Help give New Yorkers a boost of confidence for their next job interview by donating gently used suits to Dress for Success for women and Career Gear for men. Your contribution can give people the opportunity to succeed in a tough job market. View What You Can Do episode on poverty.
9. Our parks provide a much needed escape from the heat of summer in the city. Follow the “carry in, carry out” policy to preserve the beauty of our city’s green spaces: View What You Can Do episode on supporting parks.
10. If you or a loved one has been affected by domestic violence, dial 311 in New York City and ask for the NYC Domestic Violence Hotline. You can help victims of domestic violence by recycling electronics such as cell phones and video games through Recycle for Domestic Violence. View What You Can Do episode on recycling for domestic violence.
To view the What You Can Do series, visit: http://www.whatyoucando365.com