New Year’s resolutions are rushing towards us like the Polar Express — and are statistically likely to leave us behind if we don’t stick to them. It can be helpful to pick a resolution that matches our deepest-held values. If the following four foundational Ripples concepts inspire you, try applying them to your New Year’s resolutions and pick something measurable to achieve. Measuring results, such as how much CO2 or waste has been reduced, can reveal what we’ve accomplished with a resolution and will often make us feel better than if we’d simply sought to live sustainably.
The Solutionary Method was conceptualized by GrandAspirations.org and “is about seeing the world in terms of the solutions possible all around us.” This method is composed of values, principles and strategies. Our values include sustainability, economic prosperity, justice and community. Principles guide our approach: to make progress, collaborate, be entrepreneurial, empower cyclically, build for the long-term, think critically and honor the process. Finally, strategies apply values and principles to actions. Our strategies are to train emerging leaders, build transformative learning communities, achieve concrete results, create models, share vision and evaluate our process.
Effective Altruism is a philosophy that encourages maximizing the amount of good accomplished in the world. Some key concepts of effective altruism are cost-effectiveness and impartiality. Cost-effectiveness promotes support for charities that are the most efficient at helping the most people or doing the most good while meeting their mission. Impartiality means all lives are valued equally, so a person in a foreign country is equally as valuable as someone in our own community.
Capacity Building is a field in the nonprofit sector that aims to improve an organization’s ability to meet its mission and become self-sustaining. If an organization can help 100 people but needs to serve 500, we attempt to implement strategies such as website design or grant writing assistance to help the organization meet the need efficiently. Capacity Building focuses on indirect service, rather than direct service, to enable organizations to help many more people in the future instead of helping a few people today. It encourages nonprofit groups to change according to what is most needed and what will be the most effective.
Interdependence is a worldview that affects how Ripples operates. In this interconnected world, we promote holistic solutions to global problems. Instead of seeing separate causes, such as environmentalism or health, Ripples observes the synergy between them. An intervention that intentionally addresses multiple causes affecting a single problem is better than ignoring other causes to focus on only one. We promote interdisciplinary thinking with a goal of accomplishing results that are the healthiest, least harmful and contain the best potential.
The solutionary method, effective altruism, capacity building and interdependence all guide Ripples. What principles are guiding your 2014 New Year’s resolutions?
Ripples innovates solutions that maximize positive ripples in the world. We operate a 100 percent solar-hosted website with resources and services for individuals and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.RipplesBlog.org.