A book for social change

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First aired on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (09/07/12)

Activist brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger are known throughout the world for their international humanitarian projects and promotion of children's rights. But you don't need to volunteer halfway around the globe or donate money you're hard pressed to give to help those in need. To that end, the Kielburgers have written a new book Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians that shows how Canadian citizens can do a few things in their everyday lives to make a difference.

"We're patriotic, massively patriotic," Craig Kielburger told CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos during a recent interview. "But defining what makes us such a great country, it's more than just Timbits, the beer commercials...I think what makes us amazing as Canadians is that we look out for each other. We're a compassionate country. We travel the world. And the more that we travel, the more that we come home and realize how lucky we are."

living-me-to-we-cover-125.jpgWe make dozens of decisions a day that may seem trivial to us but can have a significant impact on other people and the environment. From the choice of coffee we drink in the morning to how we dispose of our old cellphones, there are ways we can do things that are better for the global community.

Marc Kielburger pointed to ATM receipts as an example. If every Canadian stopped requesting an ATM paper slip when they took out money, we would save millions of trees each year. Another tip is to do something healthy for the planet and yourself: eat less meat. Many studies suggest that diets heavy on meat are environmentally unsustainable and just not that good for you. Following the Meatless Monday trend or going part-time vegetarian would help. The brothers are also supportive of purchasing Fair Trade-certified products when possible since they provide fairer wages for workers.

The Kielburgers believe that millions of Canadians feel motivated to take action and do something, but that "something" is often difficult to define. Many projects, like building schools or health clinics in war-torn countries, can seem like an endlessly uphill battle. But Marc Kielburger says that one of the biggest ways Canadians can help is to be more mindful of how they live and what they choose to buy.

"Every drop helps, every drop counts, but we have to change how we vote, how we shop, how we consume, and how we live here in Canada."