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By Kayla L. Five Steps to a Better World Over the past several summers I have had tremendous learning experiences including with The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited. While I accept there are many negative impacts humans have put on our natural environment I have also witnessed many tremendous examples of human efforts and even successes in making our world better. I do not pretend to have all the answers but I did come up with a five step plan that I think, if nothing else, would make me a better person. OWN YOURSELF. I must recognize that I am a sovereign and unique individual and I make the decision to own myself in mind, body and spirit. This essential decision will guide many of my other decisions in life, re-orienting and re-creating my existence around the principle of personal sovereignty. Recognizing the sovereignty of other individuals provides the foundation for ethical social interactions. BECOME POWERFUL. Creating a better world requires the efforts of powerful individuals. I can empower myself physically by getting optimum nutrition and exercising for strength and endurance. I can power myself mentally by adopting an attitude of practical optimism in which I hope for the best in situations and give an accepting nod to my limitations. I must be financially secure in order to achieve my dreams and be a benefactor to others. CREATE VALUE. I can immediately begin to improve those parts of the world that I have immediate influence over. On a simple note I can raise the environmental tone in my personal space and improve my own attitudes and interactions with others. As a practical optimist, I can look for the good in each situation and expand on it or look for the good that I can put into the situation. When something has value put on it, it becomes valuable, something to be respected and nurtured. BE A MENTOR. Mentors have taken the time and effort to recognize qualities in me that even I wasn’t aware of. Formal opportunities for mentoring exist through mentoring organizations and career mentoring in the business world. I can be an informal mentor to the individuals in my life, especially to younger students. I can always be on the lookout for opportunities to share what I know about the environment and perhaps encourage someone to dream some of the same dreams I have had. BEING SPONTANEOUS. Spontaneity is the basis for opening up a person’s world - to be open to new the possibilities. We can get into routines and a comfort zone that inhibits being open to different ways of thinking and living our lives. I accept it will be a never ending process but rather one that could be compared to the process of photosynthesis. A plant takes risks to grow and this investment of energy must pay off. A plant’s heart is its stomata. It must open itself to the world in order to make exchanges and grow.