The importance of being aware: 'TED Talk' by Charlotte Frost

Charlotte Frost on her three-month charity trip to Nepal.
Charlotte Frost on her three-month charity trip to Nepal.

Having recently returned from a three-month charity stint in Nepal, where she helped improve the water and sanitation provision in the Nepalese town of Salghari, Charlotte Frost is gearing up for another charity trip early next year to Tanzania.

Part of the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, Charlotte's trip to Africa will see her undertake the role of team leader, and has written her own 'TED Talk' ahead of the trip. You can read it below.

TED Talk by Charlotte Frost for Raleigh (ICS)

The importance of being aware

In the age of isms, climate change, globalisation, and technology, there is not one more important thing than making yourself aware. Reading the news won’t suffice, understanding the science isn’t enough, tracking the ‘developing’ countries won’t benefit you, but being aware or conscious that your plastic cup could end up in the ocean or the person over there may not identify as a woman or a man or that your phone can hear what you’re saying most of the time is important.

Most of these things seem a farce to everyday life and in fact they often seem quite natural to NOT do. But in actual fact by doing this you’ll end up happier inside and be more approachable.

Firstly, this is because one will be seen as being open minded. You don’t have to be a full time vegan to be aware that meat does damage to the planet, nor do you have to be completely plastic free to argue that you’re doing your best to reduce reuse and recycle.

If you’re aware that a reduction of meat causes less damage to our planet (even if it’s a tiny tiny tiny little bit) then you’re doing your bit and being open minded to the science that is presented.

To simply argue that there is no point in my cutting down my meat intake because ‘my body can’t make that much difference’ argues that the six degrees of separation doesn’t exist.

The six degrees of separation argues that every person will be connected to another in some way shape or form through six other people, in turn creating a knock on affect that allows other people to hear information that you know - in turn if you know 10 people, 60 people have been made aware of this fact even if they don’t take action on it some other person within their social circle will and so on.

It may not seem like much to calculate in your mind when their are seven billion people on the planet, but when everyone knows someone, word spreads fast. To ignore the information is, apologies if I offend anyone, being narrow minded.

Taking this information and simply thinking about it lets the seed grow in your brain and you’ll become aware of the fact that you can make a difference. Thus making yourself a little happier.

Second, by being aware of globalisation and the exponential development of technology leaves no man or woman behind. It means you won’t be shocked when a microchip is developed that can track every single memory ever created in your brain. It means it won’t surprise you if every country becomes fully borderless and is controlled by one government (a stretch but go with it).

Being aware means less surprise; knowing potential means understanding possibilities. In discussion with friends and family you may be able to take points a little further, in interviews and assessment centres you could be seen as forward thinking and analytical as your brain has the capacity to take on big challenges and approach them in a way that isn’t definitive but that is aware that we are in an age of huge change and possibility revolution.

You become an asset because you can create ideas, be innovative but most importantly you’re prepared for change.

Third and finally, the importance of being aware is vital to your role in a progressive society, similar to the one we live in.

It is important you take a moment to appreciate some people’s families were enslaved, some were tortured, lynched. some have seen their countries come out of colonisation from European countries, some people are stepping outside of the social norms and stepping into what some parts of society are ‘tabooed’.

Being aware that people are trying to understand themselves and enjoy who they are will help you to empathise and appreciate their situations. It will help you understand why a white male can be seen as privileged. Can help you understand even their why because the aforementioned pressure is so high, male suicide is at such a high rate.

My point is, if you can be aware of the movements it takes to live within a progressive society we can be progressive.

We can understand each other and work together on the changes that the future will inevitably prevent. Arguing against one another with whose fault something is or not accepting that someone wants to have long or short hair because of gender doesn’t help us create the best future for our children or grandchildren.

It simply builds a wedge, creates ‘us’ and ‘them’ situations where they aren’t necessary.

The more aware we are, the more positive change will come.