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We have the power to change the world – from our whole Earth to the life of just one animal, like that of a gentle manatee or threatened bear.

As citizens of the Earth, we have the responsibility to take care of it and the creatures that walk upon it, and it is through both our personal and collective social actions that changes can be made.

Of course, there are and will be challenges to face en route to achieving animal and environmental protections of any size, but battles can (and have been) won. Help make an impact by unleashing your political monster. Discover eight easy ways to do so with the list below!

1. Write and submit letters to the editor

Letters to the editor can be focused on any number of subjects: pending legislation, campaigns or simply responses to a recently published article or editorial. While it’s not always guaranteed that your letter will be published, if it does, your message has the potential to reach an audience that might not even be aware of the injustices and cruelties occurring all around them. Let them know — sit down and try your hand at writing a letter to the editor today.

Need a bit of help? Check out this handy guide right here.

2. Write/email/call your elected officials

It’s easy for us to throw up our arms and call our elected officials names and brand them as ineffective. Perhaps some individuals are deserving of criticism, but often we don’t give most politicians their fair due of credit. Many who hold office are there because they want to make a difference just like you and me. Sometimes they cannot meet the demands that everyone presses upon them (remember, they’re only human), but so many are trying the very best they can. We should turn our complaining energy into something more useful — action. Let your elected officials hear your voice. If they don’t know how you feel about issues, they might not know what action they need to take. Plus, our earth and the wonderful animals that inhabit it cannot speak for themselves — we are their voice.

Need some help? Click here for some tips on calling legislators and here for some on penning letters.

3. Schedule a personal meeting with your legislator

The next step up from contacting your elected official over the phone, email or snail mail is by scheduling a personal meeting with them. Yes, you can actually do that. Just give their office a ring and see when their next available date is for a quick sit-down chat. It’s that simple. Some state legislators also hold “coffee hours,” where they meet any interested constituent at a local eatery or coffee joint. This relatively informal meeting can ease nervous feelings you might be having. Whichever meeting you choose, bring a friend along as a morale booster or as another supportive voice for animals and the environment.

4. Become a citizen lobbyist

A wonderful way to get in a personal meeting with your legislators is through a citizen lobbying day. The Sierra Club and the Humane Society of the United States, among other organizations, put them on annually and anyone is welcome to attend. At these day-long events, you’ll get to mingle with other animal and/or environmental advocates and come together to collectively call on your legislators to fulfill their promises and commitment to making the world a better place.

5. Attend public meetings

Public meetings are a great way to hear what’s going on in your community, join forces with other supporters, and get your voice heard by a greater number of people. Typically there is a constituent talking cut-off time at these meetings to keep them on schedule so be sure to rehearse your lines beforehand, bring some notes, and be conscious that others will want their turn to speak too (remember: even opponents have the right to voice their opinions).

6. Join a boycott

Boycotts can be collective or personal — your choice. Either way, they help to garner needed attention for important issues. Even though boycotts are not always the right course of action for every politically charged situation, they do have a strong history of victories from the 1955 Mongonery Bus Boycott to the 2010 boycott of Nestle. Check out recent boycott successes here and click here to read up on how to start your own boycott movement.

Looking for a more personal-sized boycott? Perhaps one of these will strike your fancy:

  • Say no to animal tested cosmetics by only purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care products
  • Help stop pet overpopulation and puppy mills — opt to adopt from a shelter or rescue instead of purchasing companion at a pet store
  • Keep your body and the environment healthy – put down those GMO-laden products and look for the Organic or Non-GMO verified labels instead

7. Partake in a protest

The next step up from a boycott is a protest. These can range from single day-long affairs to continual, persistent actions over a span of time. Protests range in style too – some are, well, out-there, while others are much quieter, and then there’s everything in-between. This variety allows you to choose the type of protest you want to be involved with. If you can’t picture yourself baring it all in the name of animals or chaining yourself up to save a tree, then don’t. There are other options out there, like the tips above, or simply a less drastic protest form – think passionate, peaceful people holding signs for consumers to see on street corners (example: Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan).

8. Get involved with local grassroots groups

Ready to take your personal actions to a new level? Combine actions one through seven and consider becoming an official member of a local grassroots groups. You can take on the big businesses, the big bills and the big issues through a variety of tactics to make a great big impact all together.

Whichever way you choose to make your mark for animals and the environment, keep in mind that you are making a difference. And also remember: stay focused and never, ever give up.

If you ever need a boost of inspiration during your advocacy journey, then be sure to check out these five amazing TED talks for some wonderful words of encouragement and hope.

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