Part 3: Integrating Activism into Everyday Life

Which actions are you currently taking in your day-to-day life that will contribute to a more safe and peaceful existence for the planet, animals, and people? Perhaps you try to buy local or organic goods, work for a nonprofit, vote, eat vegan or vegetarian, post your political views online, live in a cooperative, drive an electric or hybrid car, or even eschew a car altogether to walk or bike. Individual activism is incredibly diverse and takes many forms.


We’ve also known many activists—including ourselves—who have become frustrated and burned out about the lack of certainty around individual activism. Which actions actually have an impact? What can you do to really create change?


Our research uncovered the top two most impactful individual actions, both of which have been studied extensively and proven to be highly effective. These are choosing an impactful career and giving what you can to effective charities and progressive organizations. These two actions were chosen as the most impactful based on their extraordinarily large potential for improving the world throughout your lifetime and their highly studied and proven ability to create change.


By choosing an impactful career, donating 1-10% of your income to effective charities, and living in or shopping at a cooperative, you can transform all of your normal, everyday activities into progressive acts for social change. We consider these among the most impactful actions activists can take because most of us spend the vast majority of our time at our jobs and the vast majority of our money on food and housing. If you’re able to take on other small acts of activism, help build progressive movements, and engage in progressive activist campaigns on top of your everyday activism activities, your life will be a powerful vehicle for creating change.


Many other individual actions are helpful—and we will shortly cover which lifestyle changes and individual acts of activism can create the most change—but none are nearly as impactful, long-term, as your career and giving choices. Lifestyle changes and small acts can increase your impact, help you live out your values, and connect you with other activists, but your potential is limited if you only take these actions.


NEXT SECTION: Activist Career and Giving Choices