By Samantha Plink
Ways to make a difference without spending a cent:
1. Donate your hair
Considering going for a drastic new hairdo? Donate your locks to an organisation that creates wigs for patients who experience hair loss when going through medical treatments, such as Locks of Love (http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html) or Pantene Beautiful Lengths (http://www.beautifullengths.com.au).
2. Ethical superannuation
How do your super contributions fit with your personal ethics? A number of companies only make ethical and sustainable investments. Do your research and choose carefully.
3. Shop thoughtfully
Be aware of where products come from. Shop at local markets or choose Fairtrade or cruelty-free alternatives. There are loads of apps that help you make informed decisions at the supermarket.
4. Smile at strangers
We tend to walk around in our own little bubble, avoiding eye-contact with those around us. Smile as you walk past strangers – you might just brighten someone’s day.
5. Host an event
Organise a fundraising event with friends – it could be a bake sale, fun run or film night.
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6. Help researchers find a cure
Donate your laptop’s unused CPU while you sleep and assist Stanford University researchers studying cancer, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. A few hours a day can help researchers process huge amounts of data and get closer to cures. Join the global network of helper computers here – http://folding.stanford.edu/.
7. Check up on friends
Depression and anxiety are incredibly common and the signs are easy to miss. Every now and then ask your loved ones if they’re ok and make sure they know you’re there for them.
8. Spring cleaning
Once a year, do a big clean-out and donate anything you don’t need to charity. A good rule of thumb – only keep things you really need or love. Everything else is just clutter.
9. Share your knowledge
Put your skills to good use and consider tutoring local students after school, help migrants learn English or teach someone a musical instrument.
10. Broaden your mind
Watch the news, go to free film screenings and read books from the library. Discuss current affairs with friends and family. Encouraging people to think about important issues is the first step to making a difference on a global scale.
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