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8 Unusual Ways to Make the World Better

June 2, 2008

A lot of people talk about making the world better, and there are a lot of ways to do so. You can go the environmental route, the be-nice-to-people route, the go-to-Africa-and-volunteer-route, or any number of others. Some of the things that people suggest are quite difficult, some are a piece of cake. You may already be doing some things to make the world better. But here are 8 unusual ways to make the world (or at least a part of it) a little bit better.

 

1. If you like to forward joke emails, learn how to use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy).  This author highly discourages forwarding joke emails, but I know that a lot of people love to do so. This means, statistically, that some of the people receiving the joke emails also love sending them and receiving them. So, send them if you must. But, let’s say that the logic above follows, and you send out a joke email to fifty people. One of those people really likes joke emails, and likes to send them. Because they like to send them SO much, they add all of the names on the email you sent them to their email list, and then begin emailing joke emails to them as well. In this way, some joke-forwarders accumulate lists of email addresses thousands-long. If you really feel that you must forward emails, place the email addresses in the “BCC” field instead of in the “TO” or “CC” field. This ensures that each person who receives the email sees only their email address, and no one else’s. This is also helpful when sending out mass emails that you wish people to think are personal, such as wedding announcements.

 

2. Take part in Free Hug Day. This year, it takes place on July 5th. The Free Hug Campaign asks that people go out into public locations and stand around with a sign that reads “Free Hugs.” Then, as would logically follow, you give out free hugs to people who walk by. The idea is to feel more connected, and to bring a little happiness into the lives of others. I’ve done it once (in the pouring rain) and it was a great success. The greatest part of the day was when I was walking to lunch, carrying my sign folded under my arm, and a homeless man approached me and asked me if I was still giving out free hugs. I gave him one, and he was absolutely thrilled.

 

3. Write letters. You can write a prisoner, a soldier, (check out this site as well), your elected official, or your grandmother. I personally have been wanting to write a prisoner, but they suggest that you get a P.O. Box for safety reasons. Because of this, I’m planning on writing a soldier instead. Apparently, they’re less likely to come look you up when they return to the U.S. Snail mail makes everyone happy, and writing letters is almost as nice as receiving them.

 

4. Adopt something: You can adopt a minefield, a school bus, a microbe, a Chaplain, a useless blob, a grape, a drifting buoy, a pilot, a dinosaur bone, a wish, a boat, a clitoris, a wikipedia user, or a wheat field. On a more serious note, you can adopt a child (literally or figuratively), a pet, a highway, a stream, or a wild animal. I, personally, adopted a penguin from seabirds.org. It was simply amazing. The penguins in this program live in burrows, so there is a specific burrow marked with the name you choose for your penguin, and you are sent frequent updates on your penguin and his or her chicks. This is much more interactive than most wildlife adoption programs.  

 

5. Become a coral reef. Eternal Reefs is a company that uses your ashes (or those of a loved one) to create a coral reef where fish and other wildlife can thrive. Another use for your body after your death is donating it to “The Body Farm,” where it will be used to train individuals in forensic anthropology, as well as training crime scene investigators, medical examiners, and police.   

 

 6. Make your own laundry detergent. This was suggested by my good friend Mike, who got the idea from The Simple Dollar. Apparently, doing so is cheap, easy, and good for the environment.

 

7.  Give toys and games to children in hospitals. Through Child’s Play, you can donate toys, games, books, and movies to children in hospitals, whether in your area or around the world. The children and hospitals make wish lists, and you can purchase items from the wish list through the website, and they are shipped directly to the hospital with no effort on your part.

 

8. Stop Being A Jerk. I’m mostly kidding about this one, but seriously. If you’re a jerk, and you started being just a little nicer, even once a week, it would make the world a better place.

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