To truly make a difference, you need to be actively involved

Helen Burton
Helen Burton
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When I started out on my journey to live an ethical lifestyle I had no idea where that journey would take me.

Just over two years ago now, when my youngest daughter started attending school, I suddenly found myself with time on my hands and wanted to do something useful. I realised that there were ethical topics that I didn’t fully understand and decided I would explore the issues, finding out how I could make more ethical choices in all aspects of my life. I became interested and engaged with politics, and for the first time, rather than be frustrated every time I saw the news because I felt powerless to make a difference, I felt that I could at least ‘do my bit’. Although I’ve made a lot of changes in my life there are still issues I haven’t addressed, but I do my best.

In this column I comment on ethical issues that have been in the news, developments in my own ethical journey, things that concern me, projects I have been working on myself and other good projects locally. Sometimes I am just highlighting a story, sometimes I want to get people involved – from signing petitions to volunteering. Sometimes I need to share, sometimes to vent, but most of the time I just want to provoke discussion and get people thinking. The ability to have our say is important and I love reading comments on my articles. Even people disagreeing with me are engaging with a subject, and for me that’s good enough, I’m still publicising an issue and stimulating a discussion. That’s why I write. I don’t respond to the comments because that’s not how I choose to spend my time, I don’t want to spend my life arguing. I don’t feel the need to try to change people’s minds, I just want to say my piece and let others do the same. Sometimes though I do have to laugh. Last week it was suggested that I ‘go and work with the pinkos at the BBC’. I had to look ‘pinkos’ up (I’m guessing there is an age difference between myself and my commentator). The modern definition is that it ‘means a person with left-wing or liberal views’. I don’t think it describes the BBC as I’ve always thought of the BBC as pretty right-wing (just look at their coverage of Jeremy Corbyn), but I’d say it describes me very well. Left-wing, liberal and proud, I’m happy to fly the pink flag! It’s interesting that most of the negative comments about me or what I write come from a handful of frequent commentators on my column. That’s fine, I’m happy that you regularly read what I write, we don’t have to agree on everything, I just hope you are making a contribution to making things better too. After all, commenting on issues is one thing, but to truly make a difference, you need to be actively involved. If you would like me to suggest some worthy projects to get involved with…