I really should have posted on this book, Small ways to shape a world, way before this, because it is a quick (albeit meaningful) read, but I am rigorous about the order in which I post on books sent to me for review, and so it has taken until now for it to rise to the top of the pile. I am sorry it has taken so many months for me to get to this book.
Anyhow, enough excuses. Have you heard of Igniting Change? I hadn’t until this lovely little book was sent to me. Igniting Change is, as its website says:
a purposely small organisation that’s passionate about sparking big, positive change with people doing it tough in our communities. We are moved by the humanity and courage of the people we are privileged to work with. We listen, we remain open-minded, we uncover what’s hidden from everyday eyes, we’re guided by the people who experience the issues, we connect unlikely experts to create new thinking and above all we strive to give a voice to people experiencing injustice and inequality. Solid governance and independent funding enable us to take risks when backing outstanding people and organisations, cutting-edge investments that have a real chance of catalysing social change. We call this ‘igniting change’ and we love what we do.
They are, then, about social change and they seem to mainly work from the grass-roots level. Click on the videos on their Projects page to get an idea of how they work, and what they do. One of their mantras is “see the person, not the label” – that is, not “prisoner”, or “homeless”, or “refugee”, and so on.
(Check out the members of the Board for a good picture of who they are.)
Anyhow, Small ways to shape a world is very much about working from the grass-roots. It stems from their belief that “Small Changes x Lots of People = Big Change.” Their promo describes it as “a meaningful, practical book encouraging over fifty small acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and quiet rebellion”. It is, then, about person-to-person kindness, and about the myriad things any individual can do to effect change – no matter how small. As Paul Kelly sings, “from little things, big things grow”.
The book contains a variety of ideas – some are direct suggestions for action, while others are thoughts or questions or adages that suggest action or that simply encourage us to tweak how we think which may then flow on to how we act. Whatever the idea though, it’s inspired by such values as respecting dignity and showing warmth. Some of the ideas are credited to other people and organisations, while others presumably come from their own brainstorming. They address a wide gamut of issues we are confronting – regarding community, social justice, and energy. Here are some picked (sort of) at random!
Why do some cultures have elders while others have the elderly? (elders.org)
Homeless doesn’t mean nameless. (thebigissue.org.au)
Who are the traditional owners in your suburb? (welcometocountry.mobi)
People who need the most love often ask for it in the most unlovable ways.
Connect with people. Have a talk.
I don’t think there’s much more I can say except that this is the sort of book that probably preaches mainly to the converted, but even the converted can need reminders, because it is so easy to get caught up in our daily challenges and forget the small ways in which we can contribute to the bigger picture.
Lisa also posted on this lovely little book.
Small ways to shape our world
Richmond: Hardie Grant Books, 2018
(Review copy courtesy Igniting Change)