Do you have a passion or a cause you care about? If so, you can add an air of realism to your storytelling and let your passion show by finding a way to include it in your novel. It doesn't have to be the focus of the novel; you can keep the message subtle and still have it be effective. A puppy rescued from a puppy mill, a pile of dead bees or a person who goes around picking up trash on the beach might heighten your readers' awareness of a cause you love without you having to mention the cause outright.
I care about the plight of people in difficult situations. It's why I included double locked doors, boarded up windows, high security, and fearful workers in "Murder at Yarn Mansion" and did not make the significance of these things clear until the ending. I wanted the reader to be shocked at what was happening right under their noses, just like it happens to occur in real life.
----Celeste Bennett, Yarn Genie Mysteries