Effects of a Cause

Daily Prompt: If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?


As I go about my morning, eating breakfast, seeing my son off to school, cleaning up, I consider where to begin.

I have no scientific ability at all (I have tried, believe me), but my first thought is that I would like to contribute my time and energy to help clean up the sea. This story has been on my mind a lot lately and though I really believe we are beyond being able to make everything “ok” again, I do believe it is important to do what we can. It’s a horrific situation.

Sadly, there are so many horrific situations. Where does one begin and how does one make the greatest impact? How do you choose to throw the weight of the time you have left in your life behind one cause, leaving the others to someone else? Does it matter?

We are so fortunate while so much of this world is not. And I am a caring person, I genuinely support the stated ideals of many charities and would gladly throw myself behind any number of their causes if I thought it would make a real difference.

But I am skeptical of the  big causes, of the benefits of throwing myself behind any of them. For one thing, I am completely put off by those who accost me on the street, get right in my face and attempt to shame me or strong arm me into donating. Around here, Red Cross and Amnesty International are the worst, a very offensive canvasser from the latter organization having asked why we don’t support human rights when my husband asked him to get out of his face. If that is how they run their fundraising, how do they run their charity?

I have donated to various big charities during my life, and in some cases I have seen some small effects of this giving. But overall, I haven’t been convinced that they are really capable of making the right kind of difference. In Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux writes about his impressions of Africa forty years after he first lived there:

“Banks and donors and charities claimed to have had successes in Mozambique. I suspected they invented these successes to justify their existence. I saw no positive results of charitable efforts. But whenever I expressed skepticism…people said…’It was much worse before.’ In many places, I knew, it was much better before.”

Charities, hampered by their need to attract donations and government support, seem to be pretty limited. On the other hand, one person acting on their own can only do so much, but if you make a difference in the life of one other person, in the life of one animal, or an impact somehow, no matter how small, on the environment, isn’t that better than doing nothing at all?

Many people are tempted towards charity tourism – working for a charity as an opportunity to see the world. This could include saving the dolphins off the coast of some exotic locale, building schools in Thailand, working at a refugee camp in Africa, and many more examples, all good causes but selfishly driven. I can see why people would be drawn to them, though. And after all, just because it allows you to travel, doesn’t mean it isn’t helping a good cause, maybe even more than throwing yourself into a big conglomerate charity. But I don’t know if it really is helping in the long run.

I also think of those (people, animals, the environment) that need help right here at home. We cannot forget our own backyard in our urge to go forth into the world and help beyond our borders. Right here, children are living in poverty, adults are homeless and without hope, animals unloved and rejected, the environment stripped bare.

The children are our hope for tomorrow, while the adults are their teachers, those they look to and rely on, but there is not much of a tomorrow if the earth continues to be pillaged and plundered, and animals are helpless and blameless at the mercy of humanity’s actions.

I have been moved by stories of people who have raised money and given 100% of it to South American orphanages, taking the money to the orphanage themselves and directly helping the children while there. They aren’t large scale charities with large scale populations to help, but I’ll bet there is a stronger sense of cause and effect to this type of benevolence, and a greater impact on those whose lives they touch.

I am also moved by the story of a local woman who started an Afro Caribbean dance school which has become a de facto community centre, her husband helping the kids with their school work and the centre providing support and a community base for the families.

Perhaps, then, I would involve myself in local, small-scale efforts through which I, as one person working alone, could contribute in a meaningful way on a daily basis, in support of my community.

I would go to the local library and get involved in literacy supports for children who would not otherwise have access to these, read with them and help to bring in lower-literacy adults so that the adults’ literacy could improve as well.

I would also like to organize a program through which children could visit the elderly, learning to  care about and respect the aged.

I would be happy to work with families, teaching them about the environment and what everyone can do to ensure the Earth is still a safe place for future generations to grow up, based perhaps on a community garden through which the community could learn how to grow and harvest their own food.

I would volunteer at the food bank.

I’m not sure whether involvement in a charity helps the donor or the receiver. Perhaps it helps both. But it is important to shed some light on the misconceptions of donating to charities, to ensure that the well-intentioned and earnest efforts of those who give are actually making a difference, a difference for the better. It seems that locally-engaged community work cuts out the middle man and has the potential for direct impact.

More thoughts on causes from the blogging community:

  1. Many a Possibility | Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | likereadingontrains
  2. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Under the Monkey Tree
  3. My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause – Visit to an Old Age Home with Orphanage Kids on Friendship Day
  4. Unconventional School | Phelio a Random Post a Day
  5. Blogger with a Cause | Icezine
  6. We are all in this together: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  7. What About The Children? | Prayers and Promises
  8. Blogger With a Cause | Geek Ergo Sum
  9. Helping Kids Be Kids [Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause] | unknowinglee
  10. How To Solve Poverty (Monorhyme Sonnet) | Liars, Hypocrites & The Development of Human Emotion
  11. A cause? How about education? « RPMAS
  12. daily prompt – lend a hand | pork juice & paper towels
  13. “Helping Even One Child” | Spirit Lights The Way
  14. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause. Not. | SERENDIPITY
  15. No Man’s Silver Or Gold (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
  16. Daily Prompt: Help | Books, Music, Photography & Movies : my best friends
  17. School Board | Conversations
  18. The Business of Helping Others | Molly Greye
  19. Daily Prompt: Causes – Fire/EMS | Jottings and Writings
  20. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause – SPREAD THE LOVE | littlegirlstory
  21. Reading for a cause | A mom’s blog
  22. Cause and Effect | Life & Times
  23. Help! I need somebody! | Everyday Adventures
  24. 162. Blogger with a Cause | kevindeisher
  25. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Completely Disappear
  26. Innocent Victims of Wars | Blognovic’s Weblog
  27. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | My Atheist Blog
  28. Pup With a Cause… | Haiku By Ku
  29. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  30. I Give You the Power to Ask…..(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
  31. Help | Flowers and Breezes
  32. Causes | Going New Places!
  33. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause « Mama Bear Musings
  34. Daily Prompt: ‘Cuz | One Starving Activist
  35. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause » My Life, My Way, My Words
  36. If Only I Could Do More | f8 and Be There
  37. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | A Western Buddhist’s Travels
  38. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Ruminations from an Introvert
  39. Out To Pasture | Cowgirl Up!
  40. “Blogger With a Cause” | Relax
  41. The Blog of a Sassy Pony » Blogging with a cause
  42. pay it forwards | Her Broken Nibs
  43. Do I really have a cause? | Rob’s Surf Report
  44. But I’m Already Living My Cause | Untitled Entity
  45. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause, Ending Sex Trafficking in America | College Girl Dai
  46. Super Rant Alert! The Daily Prompt presses my DO NOT PRESS button! | An Upturned Soul
  47. Will That Be Medium, Large, Bucket Or Trough? | Eve Livingston, Ph.D.
  48. sayanything
  49. I Love Writing | Wise Counsel
  50. You can’t save the world, but you can save someone! | My thoughts on a page.
  51. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause 4 Wheel 2 Heal | Kelly’s Life
  52. Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | To Breathe is to Write
  53. Daily Post – My Chosen Cause | awritersfountain
  54. Cause 1…Type 1 that is | Why yes, yes I do
  55. New post Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause 3|9 | familyphotosfoodcraft.com
  56. You Are My Cause | Mind My Mind But…
  57. Fear | Nameless Non-ficton
  58. Be + Cause = Because You Can | Cheri Speak
  59. Daily prompt // help | simplylifestuff
  60. Revolution : Blogger With A Cause | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
  61. Daily Post: Looking At Homelessness | Slam on the Brakes, Pull Over, Take the Picture

6 thoughts on “Effects of a Cause

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