Do People Believe They Can Make a Difference?

Do people believe that they can make a difference, that they can help to change the world? Judging by these statistics from the Giving USA Foundation, the answer has to be yes:

The growth of nonprofit infrastructure, activism and advocacy in support of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's research demonstrates that a large fraction of the population are very willing to change the world so as to eliminate specific, well-understood causes of age-related suffering. Decades of messaging have gone into making the present public understanding of cancer as a disease with a cure, for example, or Alzheimer's as something other than a "normal part of aging." After a certain point, the message started by advocates becomes self-sustaining in the wider cultural conversation.

Including the roots of age-related degeneration in this category is a matter of education - and a matter of keeping at it. Persuading people that no degeneration, frailty or death should be a "normal part of aging" is a matter of delivering the message - ever-louder, ever more clearly, with ever greater professional support - and growing the community of healthy life extension supporters.

This isn't a novel or complex job; it's just hard work, and a repetition of long-proven methods. Look back to see how AIDS activists succeeded, or how cancer research advocacy grew in the 60s and 70s, or how present day Alzheimer's research supporters work. Real progress has been made in the past few years, but it's up to us to ensure this progress continues.

Each individual chooses whether to help bring about a future of longer, healthier lives - but it's our fault if most people never understand the potential of present day science, or that the choice to effectively attack degenerative aging presently exists. It you want something done, if you want people to help out and see matters your way, then you have to set the ball rolling yourself. There is no other way.

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Fantastic pie graphs, thanks for sharing.

Posted by: aa2 at July 30th, 2006 1:18 PM


On the subject of generally 'making a difference' - I've just read a great book called I Want to Make a Difference by Tim Drake, that is really practical and very inspiring. It's aimed at people who want to make a difference but aren't sure how or how they can do it effectively. REally well-written and the author seems to know exactly what he's talking about - worth checking out, it's really helped to focus me!

Posted by: Jane at August 3rd, 2006 8:50 AM

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