By Kelsey Schaefer

An entire continent is on fire and most of us have probably thought about it, at least a few times a day. But how many of us have actually been moved enough to do something? How many have travelled over to help out in surrounding communities of New South Wales, or even pulled out their wallets to send a few dollars to Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army Australiaor WIRES Wildlife Rescue?

I’d guess very, very few of us. 

It’s not a guilt trip. It’s just a fact.

It’s a fact that we’re emotional beings who are more interconnected today than ever before. We share stories with each other and comment emphatically on each other’s stories from the comfort of behind our screens. 

It’s a fact that we’re more capable today than ever before. We have the ability to send a message across the world in seconds, to travel between continents in a manner of hours, to send out our dollars without ever actually having to stop by the bank or lick an envelope.

So, if we’re more connected and more capable than we’ve ever been, what is it that keeps us from taking action? Laziness? Neglect? Selfishness? A short attention span?

It’s a fact that feeling is a heck of a lot easier than doing, but it’s not nearly as effective at causing change.

When I was in my senior year of high school, one of my classmates hung himself in his home. To this day, I’ve never learned the reason why. I think about him a lot, even though we weren’t close friends. I didn’t know the details of his life. We only really knew one another from a distance. But still, to this day, I wonder what that day had been like for him. I wonder what minuscule event could have occurred that might have been enough to spark some small change in his mind.

What if all it would have taken is for someone new to say “Hi” and start up a conversation? I wonder if I could have done something that might have made that small impact.

But I’ll never know and now it’s too late and I wish I’d made some small difference.

When tragedy hits, whether it’s a country up in flames or a friend battling a mental illness, we know we’re capable of doing more than just feeling sorry.

Something as little as a phone call to a loved one, a signature on a petition or a few dollars toward a koala sanctuary could make the difference, both in the large scheme of things and in the way you feel about yourself.

I’m not saying you should always do more. We’re busy beings. I’m saying you should do something.