Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ideas for a Better World

Dear All,

Welcome to a new year and a new term. I would like to invite you all to do the following:

  1. Think about "what is wrong" with this world. [You will probably come up with a whole list of things.]
  2. Think about what you love doing. [This can be anything from playing soccer or taking care of your little sister to cooking, solving puzzles, painting, dancing, playing the flute, or listening to your friends.]
  3. Try to figure out a way of using what you love doing to change what is wrong with this world - or in any case, one particular aspect of what is wrong - and to make the world a better, healthier, happier place.

Please post your ideas in the comment line! In order to be allowed to comment, you need to create a (free) gmail account.

Thank you,



  1. One thing that I realized was wrong with the world was that people often don't get the chance to do what they love to do, even in privileged societies. Due to work obligations and such, people who love to play sports or an instrument or draw don't get a chance to because the opportunity cost of doing so is so high. I think that everyone should have a chance to do what they love even with the pressures of their careers present.

    Two things that I love doing are playing golf, and playing the clarinet. In high school, I was able to do both things each year, and had the best time of my life. Lately, I've realized that I'm running out of time to play the clarinet and play other sports because of my school and varsity golf team commitments. As well, I've been feeling more stressed lately.

    My idea is to start a business (in whichever field) that makes profit and hires workers, but also manage my employees in a way that allows them to have time to do what they love. I will develop an organization that employees love to work for, and hopefully inspire other organizations to do the same for their employees, because I believe that by letting employees do what they love (even if for just a few hours a week), their productivity will improve.

    This way, I can say I've personally made a difference in the world, and made it a better place by whatever magnitude

  2. Hi Josh,

    Excellent plan! I think you are totally right: it really is important that people do what they love doing! I am sure your future employees will love you and do their best! Please try also to follow your own advice and find time for playing the clarinet and golf even when you are stressed with school. It will probably reduce your stress and help you complete your assignments faster and more efficiently :o)

  3. I have lived in Burnaby my whole life, but was never exposed to the poverty and hunger than strikes my city every single day. One day, after reading an article in the newspaper relating to this issue, I decided it was time to take action. I have always loved kids, and it breaks my heart to think that little boys and girls living in my own city are going to school hungry, because their families are not in the financial or social situation to organize nutritious meals at home. It also breaks my heart to think that young girls are questioning their appearance, and are so concerned with what people think of them. No 8 year old girl should look in the mirror and doubt herself based how toned her arms are, how flat her stomach is, or how thunderous her thighs may be. Appearance is certainly not everything, and that is something I wish to instill in young girls. After a lot of thinking, I came up with a plan. I, along with the help of a friend, would gather this group of girls once a month after school, teach them some basic baking skills and the school would then serve whatever we baked that afternoon, at the breakfast club the morning after. We would also bring in guest speakers, and conduct different activities with them to raise their self esteem.
    What we encountered was phenomenal. Our program, which we named "STAR GIRLS" was advertised for 12 female students in grade 7. When we arrived on our first day, we were informed that over 40 students, boys and girls, from grades 4 through 7 had applied. We did not wish to disappoint the children and so a rotation plan was put in action. I did not realize something as simple as baking muffins would be so meaningful to all of us. It is my intention to continue this project for many years to come, and to inspire other youth to follow suit.

    1. Wow! I think it's great that you've already put your program into action and are already making a difference! I believe it's very important, as technology advances and our societal norms become increasingly unrealistic, to ensure youth understand that they should not judge their value based on their appearance. I think your program is a great way to provide a welcoming and accepting social environment for youth, as well as provide them with good role models and a good support system, all while combatting hunger and poverty. Well done, this seems like an awesome program that would be popular in many areas.

    2. I agree with Alanna, I think it is amazing that you have already started this program. I really enjoyed the presentation that you gave on this at the conference. This program seems to address so many of the problems that we discussed at the conference like self esteem, poverty and food related issues. It's great that you found a way to give to the kids in a way that also allowed them to gain skills to help others.

  4. Personally, sports have been a huge part of my life growing up and still are to this day. They provide health benefits, social activities, teamwork and many other skills and opportunities to build character. I am aware that many other activities also promote these values, but I will be focussing on sports as that is what is important to me. All over the world, in underdeveloped as well as developed countries, kids with low socioeconomic status aren't provided with opportunities to participate in sports. I'd love to be able to make a difference in this area, as I believe if children want to play sports they should be given that opportunity. However, sports and sporting equipment are extremely expensive so many kids do not have the opportunities they deserve because of their socioeconomic status. There are many programs combatting this idea worldwide, but I would like to personally make a difference in this area. I think that developing a program on the UBC campus where students, faculty members and staff could donate used equipment to less fortunate children would benefit the community greatly. Many of us have older sports equipment that is worthless to us, but would provide tremendous fun and meaning to a young child who has never had the opportunity to participate before. The program could be done in partnership with sporting facilities and the school of Kinesiology, which I belong to. I think such a small act could make a huge difference in many children's lives.

  5. A majority of people are becoming increasingly obese these days. They are eating unhealthily and consuming large amounts of junk food as opposed to properly eating during times of breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wouldn’t blame them for their eating habits though, since a high number of junk food is made available in places that are situated most conveniently for people such as vending machines and fast food restaurants are all set just right around the corner! Another reason is that people are living much more busy lives than ever before. I am referring to school, universities and the workplace. They are exposed to so much stress that they may go to food for emotional comfort and also to keep them more energized throughout their stressful day. Similarly, since a majority of the population is so occupied with their work, people choose to pick foods that are convenient and fast. (ie. fast food restaurants and junk food). This can lead to an over consumption of fatty foods and ultimately lead to obesity. On the other hand, healthy and nutritional foods such as salads and wraps are costly food compared to unhealthy and fatty foods such as pizza and fries. Thus, people who are not very well off have no other choice but to eat unhealthy food that is detrimental to health and will lead to obesity.

    I love hanging out with my friends. Together, we go out for karaoke, shopping, watching dramas and we try out different restaurants. It’s good that we have the same interests so that we can fully enjoy each other’s company. When I’m alone I enjoy sketching still-life and listening to music at the same time. I like the feeling of being focused and I find that the activity of sketching is a very calming activity.

    I believe that people need to be healthy in order to make the world a better, healthier and happier place. I would like to go further into education after my degree so that I can fulfill my passion in teaching children. Since most people are eating unhealthily these days, I want to start and make a change in this by teaching students at a young age the importance of eating healthily. I find that the education system is lacking a course on nutrition. I believe that it should be a core course as it is just as important to stay healthy as it is to study English or science. That way, people are be more conscious and aware when they choose what they eat.

  6. I cannot help but notice that an inherent sense of entitlement has been instilled into Canadian children. Kids in developed countries have been taught that the world is fair from an early age and that unfairness is somehow an affront against the sanctity of the world. We all take things for granted, like going to school, sitting in our backyard and enjoying the beauty of this great country, but do we ever take a moment and think of the people who are still suffering in this world? I often think of the people who are still starving and don’t have drinking water. For all these reasons and more, I would say that we are all living in a world that is unfair.

    I love hanging out with my friends, either going to the shopping mall or catching up a new-released movie in the cinema. I also love swimming and playing badminton.

    During the first term of grade 11, me and a group of friends realizing the inequality between kids from third-world countries and developed countries, decided to raise more awareness and seeking donations to help them in our very own way. We set up a booth during weekends and on holidays at a local shopping mall, explaining to shoppers what’s going on at this moment on the other side of the earth. Together we raised over $1000 and donated it to WorldVison helping kids in West Africa suffering from hunger. Even though $1000 might not be a lot of money to help all those in need, but we did our part and it felt good to know that my time and effort spent has helped someone.

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  8. I think that one of the problems with the world it that society is geared towards consumerism. This has caused materialism to creep into and take over people’s lives. Materialism is the preoccupation with material possessions, and a disinterest in intellectual and cultural values. In the world we live in today, materialism plays a very large role in peoples lives. It has become a sort of lifestyle, or a set of values to live by. I believe the problem with this is that there is an endless drive to obtain more goods, which leads people to live in a constant state of lacking. People are too focused on what they need to buy, or have to purchase next, and can’t seem to appreciate what they already have. This leads people into a vicious cycle of endless wants and desperate needs that can never be met. To help solve this problem, I would like to create a program geared towards youth that focuses on giving back to the community. It will provide youth with the opportunity to volunteer and help out at a range of different events, such as putting on a skit at a seniors home, or putting together meals for the homeless. From this, they can learn that it is possible to increase personal well-being, while at the same time help others. I want to show that long-term happiness and well-being is found in experiences, rather than possessions. Experiencing something such as giving back to the community is much more rewarding than any material possession will ever be.

  9. I feel there's a substantial amount of problematic issues in the world. There's air pollution, animal extinction, North Korea, etc. Throughout my life, there have been situations where I needed to look after people. This didn't feel like a burden because I like the feeling of having made a positive impact on a person's life.

    Some of my friends carry a smile on their face everyday, yet they deal with the divorce of their parents. There are also individuals that live with their mother, never having the chance to meet their father. I've found individuals that lack emotional support and so many more. Many issues arise in regards to the lives of the people around me, I sympathize them. I feel bad myself sometimes because of the fact that I can't help, other than be a good friend.

    The other day, I passed by my elementary school. Visiting that neighborhood brought back multiple childhood memories, bad ones. Mostly remembering the fact that I didn't have friends and that I was constantly bullied. Then, I suddenly remembered about 4 months ago, a young girl from Port Coquitlam committed suicide because she was bullied at school.

    Having experienced such situations, and having a special connection with others around me, I decide on doing my research project on Emotional Pain. I will raise a voice for individuals to make a difference, teach others to support those who are struggling and to help the people that suffer from Emotional Pain.

  10. One thing that I believe is wrong with this world is that as technology advances, our lives begin to revolve around technology to a point where we are completely dependent on everyday devices, such as cell phones, laptops, and mp3 players. What happened to just standing up, walking to someone and talking to them instead of just texting them? Could you possibly live one full day without the use of your cell phone and laptop? Although these devices make several tasks more convenient and easier, our overuse creates a dependence on these objects that we cannot function properly without them.
    One of my favourite sports I enjoy playing every weekend is soccer. Not only does it involve strenuous, adrenaline-filled exercise, but also teamwork, and strategy. Even in the Vancouver rain, being outside and running around makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. Instead of playing FIFA soccer inside, why not just play real soccer outside. A way I have found to combat the overuse of technology is simply to take a break and go outside. During the summer, I have worked at soccer summer camp, where all day, we would learn soccer, have some fun, and then go swimming afterwards. Instead of sitting around all summer, these kids were out being active and having fun.

    1. I totally agree with you on the technology part. When cellphones and laptops haven't been invented, there are lots of face to face interaction as people would actually talk to each other. Now, its mostly being done through a text. Technology on one hand, improves our living standards, but on the other hand, we lost this personal interaction with others. It's something that we all need to think about.

  11. One thing that I believe is wrong with the world is the enormous wealth imbalance in the world today, and that people out there are making an enormous amount of money at the expense of others. There are several arguments for and against this theory, stemming from all different contexts such as economics, social stability, morals, and fairness. The fairness argument examines this issue through the following account. As all people come into the world equally helpless they should ultimately reach at least approximate equality of condition when they mature. The arguments both for and against this theory are usually linked through economics, and social justice and it appears that, the intrinsic sense of fairness requires basic economic equality.

  12. Something I believe is wrong with the world is the fact that not all children have the opportunity to partake in sports. Because of high prices that often come along with playing sports, children from less wealthy families often do not get the chance to join a team or league. I believe that every child should have equal opportunity to experience the magnificent feeling of being part of a team or organization.

    Two things that I have always loved doing are playing all kinds of sports, and hanging out with children. Growing up I was part of a competitive swim team and loved every moment of it. I felt like I belonged to something and throughout the years I created some of the most meaningful relationships with other people on my team that I believe will last my entire life time. In the last few years I swam I had opportunities to work with the younger swimmers. Seeing the joy on their faces as they swam and interacted with the other swimmers gave me one of the most rewarding feeling of my life.

    An idea I have to change what is wrong with the world is to volunteer with children who cannot afford to play a sport or join a team. While sharing my passion for sports, I will be able to give the children an opportunity to experience what it is like to be on a team and give them a sense of belonging. They will also have the opportunity to create friendships and memories that will last their entire lives.