The world population is quickly approaching 8 billion citizens and it can be difficult for people to find themselves in this great big world. I know it’s something I struggle with personally – how can I, one woman in Cleveland, really do anything significant enough in my life to make any type difference when I’m gone?
I think many Americans suffer from this “me-ism” mentality where we feel there are so many people in the world that we can’t possibly make an impact because we are just one person so we don’t even try. We don’t see (or care) how our over-consuming ways affect people across the globe because we have our neat, perfect American-dream lives and often don’t give a second thought to the person who made the shirt on our backs or the shoes on our feet or where our garbage goes on collection day.
A great example of this mentality is our national election day. A large percentage of Americans don’t even bother voting because they feel their votes don’t matter. Imagine if every 317 million American thought this way and absolutely no one showed up on that Tuesday in November. It would be a crime against our founding fathers and every liberty they fought for. The 2000 election when President Bush beat out Al Gore by mere votes in Florida is great evidence that every little bit does add up and can make a difference – in this case, a whole presidential election could have easily swung the other way.
People of Passion Can Make a Difference
What would our world look like today if Martin Luther King Jr. felt like he was just one person so he didn’t even care enough to stand up for what he believed in? What if Abraham Lincoln never ran for president? What if Jane Goodall never made that first voyage to Africa? Imagine if Steve Jobs went to work in construction instead of dedicating his creativity to computers. What if Thomas Edison quit working on the first light bulb after his first failed attempt? Do you think any one of these people knew they were going to make history with the impact they had on this world? I have a feeling they were all trying to do what they were passionate about and when that happens, great things come out of it.
We need to carry this attitude into our daily lives and remember that even the smallest of acts compound. Can you picture what our landfills would look like if every American household recycled their garbage? What would they look like if every household didn’t? If every American went meatless just one single day out of the week, the effects that small sacrifice would have on our environment are astounding and would reach much farther than just our country. No one is asking you to invest tens of thousands of dollars in solar paneling your home, but there are some really easy things you can do to help our environment today!
8 easy ways to start contributing:
- Carpool to work with your spouse or a co-worker who lives nearby.
- Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth. I often turn it off in the shower when I’m shaving or shampooing.
- Change your light bulbs to energy-saving bulbs. Better yet, use natural light throughout the day and hold off turning your lights on until the evening.
- Program your thermostat around your work & at-home schedule. Open your windows in the spring & fall and shut off your furnace/ac completely.
- Use recyclable totes when grocery shopping and skip on the plastic bags. Who needs hundreds of plastic bags sitting around?
- Grow your own vegetables and herbs in a garden at home – this has been a favorite of mine. It’s very rewarding eating a meal using produce that you grew yourself!
- Purchase a reusable water bottle or water filter instead of bottled water. The Brita filter has been a favorite of ours.
- RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE!! Research your local recycling program and get going!
Let’s all start thinking about any changes we can make in our daily lives and remember that even the smallest of acts will make a difference!