Get Active!

We all have rights, but we barely exercise them. For some Germans, the power of the word is the best way to approach a problematic situation. Through talking, it’s possible to find a solution and establish common ground.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s necessary to take action and speak out as loud as possible, just to get the attention of those who refuse to listen. Activists are experts on that field, they manage to make you look, wonder and allow yourself to change your opinion on a specific topic. Take a look on this campaign and, next time you see a pug, check if your impression on them (or their owners) wouldn’t be influenced by PETA’s advertising.

Although activists’ strategies generate headlines and gather masses, there are decisions that have been already taken to the point where only damage control could be expected. Unless someone with real influence could be part of the decision-making process, it’s often impossible to save whatever cause we want to support. What happens then? What to do? Is there someone willing to fight without actually engaging into a conflict?

That’s the cue for daily activists to appear on scene.

Diego Jara is an environmental lawyer working for the IUCN. He labels himself as an activist with a twist. While others fight on the street and shout to the authorities, he sits in an office with several stakeholders and brings them into agreements. He only wishes to preserve the most precious resource on Earth: water.

As Diego explains, while working for an Oil Company in Ecuador, he realized that something was wrong. That was not the way he wanted to make use of the law, he decided then to seek for a professional alternative and Germany appeared. There, he learned the language and then prepared to study environmental law. Now he’s working for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), a major player when it comes to environmental legislation regarding the preservation of our ecosystems.

Diego’s story is an example of someone who can engage in change from the daily routine. It makes me wonder, we could all do the same by taking small steps, just as he suggested.

Maybe we can replace the world map hanging in our walls for a more accurate one:

By Strebe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Strebe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Or we can make small changes in our lives, like following a simple advise from Edward Snowden:

Maybe being an activist is more about doing something meaningful to help others. Some are doing it at a larger scale, while others could just try to avoid harming their neighbors.

“How can I take part of it?”, you may be asking yourself. Well, I took a look on places in Bonn and I’m sure that some of these organizations should be around the corner in your city, only that you probably haven’t noticed:

This is just a small example of how it is possible in Germany to be engaged to a cause. It’s a German thing to do: be consistent with your surroundings and get active! Give it a try.

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