So, I have had a few people tell me over the past couple of years that "you can't save the world" and that a typical ordinary citizen can't make a difference in the world. These kinds of statements are statements that make my skin crawl. They are excuses. Excuses for not getting involved. They are ways to make you feel better when you let apathy take over.
The truth is that everyone (no matter how typical and average) CAN make a difference in this world. Sometimes people say they simply "had no idea" that such and such was happening in the world. I know...everyone is busy...but keeping up on what is happening in the world is very easy in this day and age. Watch the national nightly news...scan the headlines on major online news sources like CNN, The Wallstreet Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, or better yet (in my opinion) the BBC News. You can spend just a few minutes a day educating yourself on the happenings of the world.
When you find a story that you feel passionate about (whether it be the environment, genocide in Darfur, child slavery in Africa, HIV/AIDS issues, the war in Iraq, etc.) do additional searches to learn more about the issue. Once you're educated about the issue, don't just say "that's terrible" and move on to the rest of your day. This is the step that is important....tell someone else about it! Tell your friends and family members what is happening and why its important to you that it be changed. Encourage others to check out this issue and make their own judgements about it.
Email your congress-person or senator and let them know this issue is important to you. After all, regardless of whether you voted for this particular person or not, they are in Washington, DC to be YOUR voice. Tell them what you want them to talk about. Tell them what is important to you and what issues you want them to advocate for. They may or may not pick up your issue, but at least you've made your voice heard. When they vote for something you feel passionate about write them an email to let them know you saw their vote and appreciate them taking on issues that are important to you. If they vote against something you feel passionate about, write them an email to let them know you are disappointed in their vote this time around. If none of their constituents contacts them to let them know what is important, then your elected officials have free reign to advocate for their own pet projects and personal agendas.
None of this needs to take a lot of time. Just a few minutes a day (or a while longer if you do it once a week on a weekend). You can become as involved as you want to. If you have time, by all means, do additional research to find an organization that advocates for the issue you are passionate about. Sign petitions...write letters to corporations...volunteer some time working for an issue....donate money to help a particular cause....There are TONS of ways that you can get involved in the direction our world is going. But sitting idly by and letting others with more power and influence deal with it is not one of them!
We ALL live in this world and we ALL have a responsibility to each other and our children to make it the best place it can be. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've got a whole list of things that I would like to see changed so that my nieces and nephews (and someday my children) don't have to deal with them.