When most of us think of activists we think of people with too much body hair that stand in front of bulldozers and chain themselves to trees, but there is more to activism then refusing to shave and abandoning your worldly goods to live in the rainforest.

Each day regular people make better-informed choices and educate those around them to do the same. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already started re-evaluating how you live your life and have started trying to make more sustainable choices, and in this, you are becoming an activist too.

What does it mean to be an activist?

Simply put, activism is the effort of driving social, political, economic or environmental change in hopes of improving the system. That doesn’t seem so scary, does it?

You don’t have to be the person holding the mic at a rally to be an activist. Each day you can make lifestyle choices and have conversations all in an effort to improve the system, and it creates a chain reaction of people doing the same. Before you know it, you’ve helped influence a community of people to live better and more responsibly-which can have a huge impact!

How to Practice Activism

Now that we’ve removed the stigma behind the word, you are probably asking yourself what choices and changes you can make in your life to unleash your inner activist. The smallest acts can have a huge impact, here are some of our recommendations for things you can do that can drive change, hopefully for the better.

  • Participatory democracy– Don’t let the fancy phrasing fool you, chances are you are probably doing this already, and this is by far the most powerful form of activism. Participatory democracy simply means that an individual is taking an active role in the decisions made by the government. How do you do this? The easiest thing you can possibly do is vote. Want to kick it up a notch? Run for a small public office in your community!
  • Talk about it– Family, friends, neighbors, the clerk at the grocery store, anybody who seems interested! You can start the conversation about being more aware and being an advocate for change easier than you think. The simple act of refusing a plastic straw or bag can lead to an opportunity to have a conversation about how our choices impact the environment. And who knows? Maybe you will be the reason someone else starts making more conscientious decisions too.
  • Buy with a conscience– With every dollar you spend you cast a vote and you are putting money into the pockets of people that are helping or hurting the world. Do your research, buy fair trade, organic, independently made, cruelty-free, etc.
  • Get educated– the best form of rebellion is ending the cycle of ignorance. Read books, listen to podcasts, read the newspaper, watch TED Talks, take a course at a community college, do everything you can to get as much information as you can and arm yourself with knowledge.
  • Think globally, act locally– What you do at home can have a major impact on issues throughout the world. You have to start within your community before branching out to bigger issues.
  • Get involved– We all have at least one specific cause that we are passionate about. Find an organization that is working toward helping that cause and either donate or volunteer with them!
  • Participate in grassroots campaigns– There are so many amazing causes that rely 100 percent on the support of the people. Sign petitions, volunteer as a canvasser, donate, like and share. Your support is the reason why so many campaigns like We Want Refill can stay afloat.

On the behalf of all of us here, we thank all the budding activists who have taken a stand and signed the petition demanding that retailers put refill stations in stores. Thank you to everyone that has reposted articles, shared posts, canceled target cards in support, given us feedback and have helped make refill a reality.

To those who haven’t already, you don’t have to chain yourself to a tree to make a difference. Sometimes all it takes, is signing your name.