Sample text for 365 ways to change the world : how to make a difference one day at a time / Michael Norton.

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What's the big idea?

The world is full of all sorts of problems, including

HIV/AIDS, which is infecting more and more of the world's population

A widening North-South divide

War and terror (and the "War on Terror")

All the "isms" (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.) that deny people opportunities

Environmental degradation and pollution

A scarcity of water for living and working

Hunger for far too many of the world's population

A lack of universal primary education

Corruption and bad governance in too much of the world

Abuse of human rights (including slavery and torture)

Global warming, which will have an impact on almost everything

. . . and many more.

We all have our own ideas about what's wrong with the world. We argue about which are the most important issues. But everyone agrees that things could be a lot better than they are and that something really does need to be done. But what? Do we just leave it to governments and international institutions? Or are there things we can do that will actually make a difference?

The issues that confront us may seem so huge, so complicated, so difficult to deal with that it's hard to believe that anything we can do will have a meaningful impact. But there are a lot of us in the world. A lot of people doing a lot of little things could have a huge impact. And by doing something, we are also demonstrating that lots of people really do care.

Together we can change the world. That is the idea underlying this book. Through the way we live, the adjustments we make in our lives, and the action we take on issues that really concern us, we can begin to make a difference.

This book has an idea a day for changing the world. Most are quite simple, can be done from home, and will not take up that much time. Some require a bit more time, energy, and commitment.

Get going on changing the world. You can make a start at anytime. But the best time is right now! Just open the book to today's date, read, enjoy, be inspired to action . . . and do something.

Visit To complement the book, we have created a website that includes all the 365 ideas and many more. You will also be able to click on the weblinks to go straight to the sources of information listed in the book.

This book is just a starting point for an ideas bank for changing the world. We need your help, your ideas, the feedback from what you have tried to do in order to help us make our dream -- of people everywhere doing all they can to change the world -- a reality.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright © 2005 by Michael Norton


The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

-- Alan Kay

New Year's Day is traditionally a time for looking forward, when we resolve to make a fresh start, do better, try harder, live up to expectations. But all too often these resolutions evaporate by the time we have cleared up the remains of the previous night's party and almost certainly by the time we get in to work the next day. And if nothing is changing in the world around you, and the same old problems -- war, famine, injustice, torture, poverty, disease -- are reported in the news day after day, you may feel as though there is little point in resolving to give up smoking, lose those extra pounds, walk to work. So here's a suggestion: instead of watching, wracked by guilt, as world events unfold on your TV screen, bring about a New Year's Revolution. Change your life by resolving to change the world.

Taking the first step is important. Once you've gotten started, everything will get a lot easier. So, today, commit yourself to taking that first crucial step. Once you have resolved to make poverty history, to stop global warming (or whatever it is you want to do), the first thing you need is a plan of action. So make a plan. Set targets for what you want to achieve. Be ambitious. But make sure that your plan is achievable.

At the end of the year, you will want to review your progress. You will want to know whether you achieved your goals. You will want to see how much impact you have had on the issue. You will want to learn from your experience. And you will then need to plan what to do next.

Don't be frightened of failure. Do something, and try your best to succeed.

But even if you don't, you will have shown that you care enough to want to do something, you will probably have made some difference, and you will have learned a lot from the experience -- which you can put into practice next time.

. . . resolve to change the world

Make a New Year's Resolution.

Go to and download the portrait of Samuel Beckett ringed by these words:

No matter

Try again

Fail again

Fail better

Cut this picture out, frame it, and put it somewhere you will see it every day. Let Samuel Beckett's words become your motto for the efforts you will be making to change the world.

JANUARY 1 New Year's Day

Copyright ©2005 by Michael Norton

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Social change.
Social action.
Community organization.
Alternative lifestyles.