One of the things that is often overlooked when we talk about creating change is how the current systems operate. These systems are designed to support the status quo as it currently exists, and changing systems is a challenge.
For example, let’s talk about cars being the default transportation in the United States. While some major cities have mass transit systems that work as intended, most people do not live somewhere with effective public transit.
Effective public transit revolutionizes community life, in addition to its other benefits. It allows people who cannot drive, cannot afford to drive, or choose not to drive to still be part of the community, hopefully without other barriers getting in the way.
Another example is the public school system. Arguably, in trying to teach to the average, they actually don’t serve anyone. Yet it’s an established system that maintains the status quo and does not serve those who are even a smidge different. Plus, what’s taught in school supports the current system and glosses over so many of the inequalities.
Now, we’re often one person or family trying to tackle our daily lives. Taking down systems that span society takes time and resources we do not have individually. That’s why it’s important to be part of broader movements.
Individually, we can learn. We can read the books, the articles and the perspectives widely available. We can call out instances when we see the system being used to maintain a harmful status quo.
Together, we can go further. While being passionate about every cause is practically impossible, joining two or three causes is possible (time-dependent). Learning a little about more is possible. It’s usually a mindset shift, however.
Together, we can work on systems that maintain harmful status quos or do not benefit our society anymore.