Turn on the TV. What do you see?
Tornadoes, typhoons, devastation everywhere. Homeless people, corrupt politicians, poverty.
Robbery, rape, murder.
Climate change. War. Pollution.
I could go on and on. But just a few of these is enough to make one feel depressed about what’s going on in our world.
Seven continents, 193 independent countries. You are one human being in a world of 7.4 billion other individuals. You want to help make a difference.
You want to change the world — but how?
You’re just one person — a tiny speck compared to 7.4 billion people. Can you really change the world by yourself?
The answer is a resounding yes! Many people think that one person can’t make a difference. But imagine this: 7.4 billion individuals each doing something to change the world. So you see, change can start with one person. Change can start with you, right here, right now.
Here are 25 simple ways for you to start changing the world:
1. Volunteer. Volunteer for a few days and immerse yourself in new experiences. This will help you see life through new lenses and will enlighten you about the different situations in your community.
2. Support a cause. Find something you are passionate about and fight for it. It can be saving the environment or raising funds for a new hospital. Join groups that support your advocacy.
3. Respect others. It is important to respect everyone and to afford each person their right to be treated with decency and humanity. There is more to what meets the eye, so erase prejudices, eliminate labels, and stop judging.
4. Pay it forward. Take a photo for a tourist or open the door for someone. Random good deeds are pleasant surprises. You have no idea how it affects other people, especially those who aren’t used to being treated that way. More than how it makes the people you help feel, you might even start a ripple with your intentional generosity and helpfulness.
5. Adopt from your local shelter. Most animals in shelters are rescues in need of loving homes. If not adopted, they will be euthanized. Adopt a rescue and give animals a second chance. You will also get a new best friend as an added bonus!
6. Be more conscious about health and nutrition. Try to eat more vegetables and fruits than meat. Aside from the physical and mental benefits you’ll get, the environment will also benefit from this change in lifestyle. You will also be supporting farmers in need by purchasing their produce.
7. Keep the environment clean. Others may not be as conscious as you when it comes to properly disposing garbage. Take a walk. You can change the world by picking up litter — yes, even other people’s litter.
9. Make yourself heard. Don’t be afraid to speak out about your concerns and opinions. Use your voice to influence and educate others on important issues. Don’t hold back. Sign petitions, issue statements, and write letters. You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to share your thoughts.
10. Support your family and friends. You know how it feels to have someone believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Be a cheerleader for the important people in your life. The world needs stronger relationships.
11. Appreciate strangers. The world would be better if only we learned to appreciate people. Give waiters tips for exceptionally good service. Say hi to your building doorman — it must be pretty boring holding the door open for everyone all day. Smile at janitors and thank them for keeping things in order.
12. Conserve electricity and water. Turn off appliances and lights when not in use. Don’t use the air conditioner when the temperature is bearable. Turn the shower off when you are soaping, shaving, or applying shampoo. Water may be abundant now, but the future is still uncertain.
13. Let go of your stuff. Minimal is the current trend in Japan. They believe that it’s better to own less stuff. Admit it, you have a lot of things that you haven’t used for the past six months. Yet, you don’t want to give them up because having things creates a sense of security in us.
There are people in the world who are content with just one pair of footwear though they need more. You’re doing yourself a favour by training yourself to be less materialistic. Seize the opportunity to bless others with stuff you don’t even need but will go miles in the hands of someone else.
14. Connect by disconnecting. Because of technology, we have been spending more and more time online. Disconnect from social media at least for a few hours per day. Reconnect with people you haven’t talked to in a while. Engage in face-to-face conversations over coffee or tea and not Skype for a change. While technology does have a lot of benefits, it can throw our brain out of balance and hinder real human connection.
15. Buy from small businesses. Buy from street and market vendors and even peddlers you see often. They’re making a living to eat and not to buy a new car or condo. Also, patronize and support your local artists and workers.
16. Buy fair-trade goods or products with advocacies. When you buy fair-trade goods, you help farmers get a fair price for their products. These products can be handicrafts, coffee, flowers, tea, honey, and a wide variety of stuff that you usually fill your grocery cart with.
You can also look into buying products that have advocacies connected to them. There are some products that are made by special children, elderly, and even prisoners. Buy from those who need your money most.
17. Give an anonymous donation. Choose an organization that you would like to help and give a portion of your savings anonymously. Any amount will do — even loose change can go a long way.
18. Recycle. Let go of plastic, and reuse materials if possible. Plastic does not degrade, and if we don’t do our part, it will continue to pile up and pollute our soils, seas, and skies.
19. Go digital! Use less paper so that fewer trees will be cut down. Minimize printing and exchange documents over email.
20. Explore alternative options for transportation. Share a ride with someone. You can also try biking or even walking for short distances. Aside from helping minimize pollution, you are also doing your body a favour by being more active.
21. Reach out to the homeless. Give food to the homeless man who sleeps outside your building. Remember the stuff you cleaned out from your place? You can give some old clothes and blankets to the homeless people near you.
22. Be a role model. Bond with children — it can be nieces, nephews, or your friend’s kids. Listen to their stories and share some motivating ones in return. Be an inspiration and keep your mind open. Even adults can learn something from children.
23. Plant in your backyard. A small green space in your backyard can already have a huge impact when maximized. You can use it to plant herbs or flowers. With your own edible garden, you can be self-sufficient and food secure. You can also share your skills with others and teach them how to achieve what you did.
24. Be a listener. Oftentimes, words aren’t needed. Be a listener to those who need to vent out frustrations. Lend an ear to someone who needs to be heard. The world will benefit if people are granted safe spaces to express themselves without malice or judgment.
25. Spread positive vibes. The media may bombard us with terrible news, but there are also beautiful, heart-warming stories everywhere. Strike a balance and be the bearer of inspiration in a devastation-torn world. You’ll never know the effect that your random smiles will have on someone’s day.
Remember, a small act can have a lasting impact. A drop creates a ripple that disturbs the calm. You may be one person, but if others are inspired by your actions, they might follow your example.
Imagine if every living person did just one of these 25 things every day — the world would definitely change for the better.