I live in California and we banished plastic bags in grocery stores. You can still buy a thicker reusable version if you forget your cute ones in the car but essentially the flimsy bags that fly away and end up in the ocean and landfill are a thing of the past.
Sounds like a great initiative right? Help the environment by eliminating something so clearly harmful.
Meanwhile the homeless camps in Orange County are having outbreaks of disease because of an increase in feces near where they live and sleep. Why the increase? Because they used to use disposable plastic bags to do their business in which were easy to dispose of. No plastic bags means no easy disposal.
Gross way to start a conversation isn't it?
Here's the point... banning plastic bags treated a SYMPTOM of a SYSTEM that needs changing, meaning plastic waste and environmental litter. And it exposed another SYMPTOM of a SYSTEM that also needs changing, the homeless camps that run up and down the riverbed.
As we seek out our purpose and and the things we want to advocate in the world however, we rarely go deep enough to figure out anything past the symptom, because the symptoms are obvious, because they feel smaller for us to impact, because we think it IS the thing that we're meant to change.
Perhaps that's all true.
But to create true impact, we have to be willing to dive in deeper and figure out what the core of the issue is.
It's good to fix the symptom if we can. But imagine what happens when you change the system instead?
As you set up your Mission for 2018 and you dream about the imprint you want to leave this year, what if you took a little extra time to think past the generalizations like "I want to end hunger on the planet" and go beyond the "I will volunteer at a food bank" (which you can still totally do as well...) and consider something along the lines of "What creates famine and what can I specifically do to end it at it's root" and then get even more specific and say "What creates hunger in my town (or in Africa or in District 8 or wherever) and what can I do to permanently change that?".
It's should feel like a stretch, like something just out of your reach, but you're going to feel the difference. Get to the CORE and find your own personal leverage point to forever alter the SYSTEM and get rid of the SYMPTOMS that way.