Critical Issues in Need of Social Entrepreneurial Action

Part of the Social Entrepreneurship For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you feel like you need to do something to make the world a better place, but you aren’t sure what that should be, consider the following four areas. Each of these is a critical issue currently boiling up in importance globally, nationally, and, in many cases, locally:

  • The environment: Whether it’s industrial or agricultural pollution, carbon dioxide or methane emissions, the disappearance of rain forests, or the draining of your local wetlands, the environment is under siege just about anywhere you look. Some people see a division of this category into the built environment (for example, buildings and energy sources) and the natural environment (which includes air, water, and other natural resources).

  • Healthcare: The fierce nature of the healthcare reform debate in the United States reveals how fundamental and personal healthcare is to many people. All kinds of healthcare needs are no doubt pressing in your own community. In your home country, consider issues of malnutrition, lack of access to care, and poor living habits. Go beyond your country’s borders and you find any number of desperate health concerns in dire need of attention.

  • Immigration: The world is full of migrants, immigrants, and refugees. Globalization has created more cross-border market opportunities, and more people are moving between countries seeking work than ever before. This often creates cultural friction between the newcomers and the established population, which, if left unchecked, can lead to conflict and even violence.

  • War and peace: Yes, the Red Cross (www.redcross.org), Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org), Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org), and other organizations are important actors in striving to reduce misery among wounded soldiers, prisoners of war, and war-torn populations. But they can’t do everything. Smaller players play an important role, too, and may be able to give more personal attention, especially in negotiations. This work is high risk and high stress, but the rewards can be just as great.

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