So Just Do It!
24 Nov 2008
At the Schumacher Lectures Eugenie Harvey began her seminar by taking the audience through the history of We Are What We Do’.
Attention: This article has been imported from our old websiteWhile we've taken every precaution to ensure that the content of this article remains intact, it may contain errors.
Eugenie Harvey began her seminar by taking the audience through the history of We Are What We Do’. Originally formed as a Community Links charity project, the organisation is a new kind of movement’, inspiring people to change the world, one small action at a time’. The philosophy is simple: small actions x lots of people = big change.
We Are What We Do’ was behind the Anya Hindmarch, I’m NOT a Plastic Bag project ñ set up to encourage consumers to stop using plastic carriers. The organisation is also well-known for its amusing and inspiring books, such as Change the World for a Fiver and a new publication, [reviewed on page 10] Teach Your Granny to Text & Other Ways to Change the World.
The books feature many small actions’ that make a difference. There are 130 of them listed on the website. Visitors can choose their preferred one, log it in and even track the cumulative effects as the ripples spread outwards.
A natural raconteur, Eugenie inspired and entertained her audience with some of these ripple’ stories, such as Recycle Your Specs ñ an invitation for people to recylce their unwanted pairs of glasses. There are around 200 million people in the world who need specs’ but cannot afford them. Eugenie went on to tell the audience about a woman, who works for HM Revenue and Customs. She decided to spread the idea through the national departments. So far, 93 Inland Revenue offices have taken part and through them, over 4,500 unwanted’ pairs of glasses have already been donated.
Some ripples travel a very long way. Dismas Ootari is a schoolteacher from a village outside Kampala, in Uganda. Dismas heard about Change the World for a Fiver in 2004 on the BBC World Service and he was so inspired that he launched a Ugandan We Are What We Do’. As he said to We Are What We Do’ co-founder, David Robinson: ‘Brother, it is the spirit of the idea. We are what we do. We get the world that we deserve as a consequence of our everyday actions.’
Dismas uses the organisation’s ideas and resources to teach his students to make connections between the actions they choose to take and the consequences of their choices. He particularly relates it to the practice of bigamy ñ a major contributor in the spread of HIV/Aids.
Contact: We Are What We Do,
15–17 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
London, WC2A 3ED
Tel: +44 (0)207 396 7463
Eugenie Harvey begins her presentation
Photo: © Marc Leverton
If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation
Donating helps us keep reporting on positive news