I just listened to a podcast about whether your individual actions matter or are insignificant.
The end result is that both are kind of needed but I want to go further.
Thinking out loud as I type…
Systems will change as a result of individual change
Systems and individual actions interact constantly. The system itself is not enough. Cigarettes have had massive limits for years and people still smoke. People still don’t wear seatbelts (some). And Covid has shown that even having laws supporting science isn’t enough. We need peoples actions to change too.
Much like how rain becomes the ocean which becomes the rain = our actions and systems interact and both of them moving in the right direction will have an exponentially large positive impact.
People buy Prius, Tesla is established, people buy Teslas, other car companies make electric cars, governments change regulations to be even more supportive of electric vehicles. OK, yes, some incentives did come in early in some places but without people buying the cars, that would have died. And they didn’t just buy due to the incentives.
Government is the same. Vote, yes. But also, write letters, fill out petitions, march. Government these days is very rarely about actual leadership. Most want to do what their voters already want to do. So if lots and lots of individuals want climate action, it will (eventually) happen.
OK, not Instagram people who hire a private jet for a selfie, but every individual is an influencer and a potential influencer.
For this to happen, people need to;
- Do the action
- Proudly do the action
- Share it without being annoying - either by talking about it or, ok, as a photo on MySpace.
Here is my tiny little actions and some impacts
The other day at lunch I ordered a vegetable salad and asked for no lid. The container was cardboard but the lid was plastic. The people I were with noticed and also said ‘no lid’. They admitted they’ve never done that before.
“Mick can you get me a coffee?”
“Sorry, I don’t do take away cups. Do you have a KeepCup or Huskee?”
“Oh, really, no, I don’t”
“Do you have another 10 mins? I can order your coffee in a mug and we can have a chat?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
You’ll be surprised how easy it is and how influential you are.
Lead by example.
Systems Have Lag
This is an emergency, but it’s not like in the movies where the asteroid is coming to earth and we all run around screaming. It’s the same movie that goes for 12 seasons with an hour a week. It will take time.
Systems take time too.
They take time to commit to (frustratingly long most of the time)…
They take time to implement.
They take time to have affect.
We don’t have that time. We need to move faster.
Little Actions Add Up
As I wrote a few weeks ago, your actions are only 0.0000001% of the world. But, we have caused these issues by all those tiny actions adding up together.
I promise you, if you make the step, so will others. Even if you don’t lead. The numbers will add up.
It’s not real, but just to make you think, if you are the first person to do an action, and that number doubles ever month, we will have 1 billion people doing it within three years.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
And, if you are also a leader (and most people actually are, really), then make systemic changes. Lead, be bold, go first.