Practical actions for a more peaceful and just world

By Taylor O’Connor |

Photo by Melany Rochester on Unsplash

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power than can transform the world.” — Howard Zinn

Those who work for peace and justice have an extensive array of approaches available to them. Based on my experiences during the past decade working with grassroots peacebuilders around the world, I’ve mapped hundreds of actions for peace and organized the main ones into this list of 198.

Actions are organized under…

And how they are changing the world

“We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.” — Vandana Shiva

While often overlooked, women are (and always have been) a driving force behind movements for peace and justice worldwide. They are at the forefront of peace movements worldwide, are fighting for more equitable and sustainable peace agreements, and serve as mediators between communities in conflict.

There are innumerable national women-led peace initiatives worldwide, many regional networks, a range of global networks that support women peacebuilders in…

Get connected to help you build peace better

“Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations. It is located in the networks that structure society.” — Manuel Castells

There’s a lot of organizations and grassroots groups out there working tirelessly to build peace. Many of us work in places affected by violent conflict or other challenging contexts; others are working to challenge militarism or to prevent war at higher levels.

Regardless of our approach, it is common that we work in silos, disconnected from similar efforts working towards the same goals. A common challenge I hear from peacebuilders I work with is that…

And why you should make your own

This is my framework. You can learn more about it at the end of this article.

“The ultimate goal of peace education is the formation of responsible, committed, and caring citizens who have integrated the values into everyday life and acquired the skills to advocate for them.” — Betty Reardon

So I made this peace-learning framework once. No, not the one in the image above. That’s the second proper one I made. Similar concept, but entirely different purpose and intended use.

Peace-learning frameworks are seriously critical for any peace education program you want to set up or for any education-type program associated with peace, human rights, anti-racism, social justice, or anything of the sort. I’ve used…

A user-friendly guide

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

“The key to complexity is finding the elegant beauty of simplicity.” — John Paul Lederach

I remember the first conflict analysis I did, some ten or so years ago. I was just getting into consulting in the NGO world, looking to ‘get my foot in the door’ so to speak.

I did well with the CV, and the interview, and the pretending I knew what I was talking about part. Hired. Contracted. Now came the part of figuring out how the hell I was gonna do this thing!

So I downloaded a bunch of PDF guides for conducting conflict analyses…

To transform conflict in your family, workplace, community, and beyond

Photo by

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.” — Dorothy Thompson

I had this job once. This is some years back now. I didn’t know anybody there, but immediately upon walking into the office on my first day, I could sense something was off. I couldn’t pinpoint it. This was a feeling. I felt it in my gut.

After a week on the job, I learned the following:

  • Person A didn’t talk to person B. They had some longstanding personal issues that predated them even working together.
  • Person B was the…

With lessons learned from the past 200+ years of peace activism

Women’s Peace Conference in The Hague, 1915. Photo on Wikimedia Commons

“The story of the human race is characterized by efforts to get along much more than by violent disputes, although it’s the latter that make the history books. Violence is actually exceptional. The human race has survived because of cooperation, not aggression.” — Gerard Vanderhaar

They say that if you don’t know your history, you’re bound to repeat it. Well, I figure that for those peace activists, peacebuilders, social justice advocates, and the like, if we don’t know the history of movements for peace and justice, then we are bound to repeat mistakes of old.

I’ve been working in the…

Create your strategy to build a more peaceful and just world

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” — Sun Tzu

This is for all of you dreamers and idealists out there, you activists and selfless souls dedicating your life to a cause. I hate to do this, but I’m gonna rain on your parade for a minute here. It’s a little tough love, but I’m here to help.

Have you ever had the fleeting thought that a lot of what you are involved in might be a waste of time? And money? …

20 podcasts to help you find creative ways to build peace and justice in the world

Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash

“Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which people transform the world.” — Paulo Freire

Working for peace and justice can be stressful. And at times, it is an isolating endeavor. One must not only be thinking deeply to understand the causes of the issues you are engaging with, but also think of creative ways to transform them and take action. The issues we’re dealing with are complex and dynamic, and there is often little guidance available to help us decide our next move.

Often overlooked, an excellent…

And how we can apply their lessons.

Military police on the streets of Philidelphia, PA (1 July 2020). Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

The 2020 Republican National Convention last week was painful. It was hard to watch the racist filth and lies spewing forth speaker after speaker, all the while witnessing the violence produced by Trumpian rhetoric play out in the streets of America.

It got me reflecting on the nature of violence, particularly state violence. I feel like… that to dismantle the systems the Trump administration has set in place to create chaos and with it the narratives that justify his war on the American people, we need to take a close look into the nature of state violence itself.

And what…

Taylor O'Connor

Peacebuilder, idealist, dreamer.

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