Define your issue
Questions answered in this section
How do I understand the thing I want to change?
What can I do to make things a bit easier?
How can I simplify the issue I care about?
So you're really angry about something. Or maybe you're inspired. Or maybe you're just sad. Chances are that something has a lot of layers to it.
Your first challenge as a new advocate is to work out exactly what the issue you are trying to change is.
Consider climate change. There are a number of proven reasons climate change is happening:
Excessive use of fossil fuels
Over reliance on meat and cattle as a food source (there's actually stuff in their farts that is bad for the earth)
Pollution from industrial activity (such as burning coal for energy, production of consumables, and processing chemicals for pesticides).
There are also a number of negative side effects of climate change:
Oceans warming up, which leads to destruction of glaciers and coral reefs
Rising sea levels pushing coastal dwellers out of their homes, and making it harder to produce food
Extreme weather causing destruction of property and loss of lives (through things like bush fires, hurricanes, and heat waves).
A QUICK way to burn out all your energy and feel like you're getting nowhere is to try and tackle every single cause and effect of the issue you are interested in changing.
So, you need to focus on an area that you feel you can make a difference on.
Questions to ask yourself
What, specifically, is it about this issue that you are feeling upset/angry/inspired about? Be as specific as you can. If it's youth mental health you care about, which part? Do you want more people to get help? Do you want to battle stigma around mental health? Are you upset that there is a lack of funding for research into causes of mental health issues?
Is there more than one element you want to change? It’s OK to have multiple avenues for advocacy. Write down as many as you can think of, but make sure to make them all very specific.
What part of the issue is most relevant to you and your environment? It's hard (but not impossible!) to make changes on massive international issues. If this is the start of your advocacy adventure, think about how the issue you care about effects your local environment, and start making change there. If it's equal pay you care about, consider how women in your community could be supported to achieve equal pay.
Highlight the MOST important and relevant one, and start with this one.
Who else is already doing stuff in this area? Is there someone you can talk to about the best area to focus on?