07/31/2012 07:41 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Not Just Reading the News, but Making a Difference


An earthquake ravages an entire country. A bus monitor is bullied by a group of teens. A pop singer dies of an overdose. An Olympian drinks a Pepsi in public.

The proliferation of Internet news and social media has caused an explosion in the number of headlines at our fingertips, and of the speed at which they enter and leave our line of sight. For instance, if you surveyed your friends, how many would mistakenly tell you that Northern Gateway is a Neil Young album, the Arab Spring is a new rock band, or that Robocalls is a new Schwarzenegger movie?

Yet each headline represents a deeper story, and an overwhelming range of different issues -- poverty, violence, despair, economic justice -- begging for reflection, debate and action.

Hence, Impact. Congratulations to Huffington Post for bringing this phenomenal initiative to Canada: a place for Canadians to read the news with a view to making a difference.

We're avid HuffPost readers because we like to keep up with the intensely fast pace of the news, and we like to dive deeper into its stories. We're thrilled to be among the contributors to Impact Canada: a fascinating range of Canadian thinkers, activists, and other newsmakers sharing their insights into the causes and issues behind the headlines -- and most importantly, how to do something about them.

The question we hear most frequently from people ready to make a difference is: "Where do I begin?"

Is it best to contribute to a large organization and its big-scale projects, or to a grassroots group making change on a smaller level? Should I focus on local causes or international ones? Do I choose one specific issue to address, like education, or try to tackle several related causes all at once?

In our contributions to Impact, we'll tackle some of these questions, using our experience working with communities in Canada and all regions of the world, and in the context of news that's happening right now.

Your personal Impact can be simple, like donating to a relief organization, using social media as a tool for social change, or raising issues with your government that go beyond complaints about potholes and the HST. Or they can be more involved, like green or ethical investing, standing up to bullies in your community or workplace, or volunteering at a teen help hotline. But we promise you'll never read the news in the same disempowering way again.

So bookmark this page, and return often. This new online community has the potential to bring us together and start making the news instead of just reading it.