As an 18-year-old person at the moment of writing this, I have encountered many questions when reflecting on subjects such as global change. One of the most crucial and repeating questions is: how can an individual actually create change?
If you are already part of the global awareness movement, be it on any level at all, you will have heard of the need to change the world around you. Many inspirational speakers and motivators of these changes urge you to act personally towards the well-being of our world. But while they speak of it as a simple and obvious set of actions, it might be so simple and obvious that you can feel momentarily lost and not know what to actually, specifically do.
You were likely subjected to these conversations in school, such as “Small Acts to Prevent Global Warming: change a light bulb, buy energy-efficient products, use less heat and air conditioning, save on hot water…”, etcetera. We are, however, beyond the point where small, personal acts alone can have a significant influence on the preservation of our planet. It is now time for big, international measures. Governments and corporations must undertake commitments – and they will do so with the continuous increase of public pressure.
As a result, it is important that we not only apply this pressure on our official representatives, but also do not forget to act on a personal level. And regarding this, there are two dimensions in which each individual can contribute:
- Physical Sphere: our own actions to help preserve Planet Earth; physical changes in our lives to make life easier for others and for ourselves;
- Psychological / Emotional Sphere: we must never forget the power of our thoughts, intentions and feelings. If we nurture feelings of happiness, hope, solidarity, sharing and helpfulness, others will be more receptive to us, and our positive energy will also influence them. In the near future there will be a more detailed article on this subject, debating the existence of the “aura” and its effects on others around us.
Being aware that your acts can have a positive impact on other beings, not requiring to be great, heroic actions, here is a list of a few, simple things you can do that will, on a smaller or wider scale, contribute to a better world:
1 – Sign Public Petitions. The power of your signature is probably more than you have ever imagined. Groups such as Avaaz.org, Change.org, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and so many others gain immense strength by their followers who loyally sign their public petitions. Although out of 10, only 2 or 3 petitions will most likely get real, transforming results, those who achieve their goals have only done so because thousands of people joined the movement. It is quick and easy; it doesn’t require any effort, work or waste of time. Sign for a cause, represent the cause, and your name will matter.
2 – Plant A Tree. One of the most pressing issues in today’s world is deforestation. It is a crisis that will ravage the entire planet. The Amazon Rainforest alone constitutes more than half of the world’s surviving tropical forests, it is one of its biggest lungs (oxygen producers)… and it is being destroyed at an alarmingly fast pace. To plant a tree does not necessarily mean that you will wake up one day, go buy some seeds all by yourself, find a free spot on a flower bed and plant a tree… Or it might. You may also join a local movement, create your own group with friends or family or join an international organization. No matter who you bring into it, it will always be a positive action to plant an extra tree on Earth. Oxygen can never be too much, can it? And neither can Nature.
3 – Recycle. This one never gets old. Nevertheless, it is important to realise that, despite having already moved beyond the point where only individual actions can change the state of things, we must not stop doing it. Recycling will always be a strong support against non-renewable resources.
4 – Educate Yourself. Like oxygen, a little extra knowledge is never too much. Raising your own awareness on original, healthy ways of preserving the world, or ways of improving your life and others’, is always important. Realising how perilous and unsustainable life on Earth is becoming, you may learn to give it greater value and respect.
5 – Educate Others. Being probably one of the most important missions you can undertake, educating others does not mean lecturing them on boring subjects. For the contrary, it means awakening their knowledge to the state of our world, to the importance of change, and to how we can personally start doing it. After all, as Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world“.
Discovering and creating new solutions for our world’s problems is a path that will never be too spent.