Can one person make a difference? Or do we wait for someone else to do it!
This is a question that is asked at our Market stall, round dinner tables, in class-rooms…..everywhere, in these urgent times.
What’s that quote from the Dalai Lama … something like, “If you ever think you’re too small to make an impact, take a lesson from the mosquito!” And the other well-worn saying is about taking care of yourself so that you can step up and take care of others (as in an emergency).
Being at the centre of our own worlds, while sharing the experience of being human (a social creature) is how I like to respond to that question …
WHAT TO DO – in the outer world?
- Grow FOOD, bring others with you in this
- Build COMMUNITY consciously by being open to every encounter, and by sharing common experiences and interests
- Minimise WASTE, including packaging. Join a community composting arrangement like Sharewaste.org
- Consume CONSCIOUSLY, acquire only what you need (materially and non-), and savour each moment
- Use your MONEY strategically – DIVEST from fossil fuels
- Join SUPPORT groups, value sharing your experience with others in a similar situation
- Build PEOPLE POWER by collaborating with others
- Debrief and plan, using LISTENING PARTNERSHIPS (confidential swapping of time allowing pairs to express and be heard fully without interruption or comment)
- Question and challenge the ECONOMIC SYSTEM and CONSUMPTION, seek out local economy activities. Shift your idea of ‘normal’…..is it normal to have a car?
- Respect and learn from INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES on stewardship of the earth
- Understand issues of INEQUALITY and climate injustice. Connect these systemic problems with the BEHAVIOURS AND FEELINGS of individuals. Being disappointed or enraged is as much due to societal injustices as an individual’s personal life experiences. This perspective allows us to have empathy rather than judgement.
- Use REFLECTIVE PROCESSES to become aware of what DRIVES us as individuals (greed, fear, hopelessness, despair, rage, joy, love, hope) Journaling and listening partnerships allow us to process these feelings so that they don’t hijack our best intentions.
- AGITATE governments and industries, don’t remain silent; phone calls, emails, letters, delegations…with others.
HOW TO BE – in our inner world?
- Take CARE of yourself: be well-fed, well-rested, well-exercised, well supported
- Get into new HABITS; be curious and open to other ways of doing things
- Hold ATTITUDES that support your engagement with the situation we’re in (hope, optimism, empowerment, appreciation, valuing self and others)
- Remember your PASSION for creating a better world (when did you feel this as a young one?)
- Overcome NEGATIVITY in yourself; create or find a foundation of ethics, sociality, creativity, collaboration
- CONNECT with people – be interested in everyone – they might turn out to be your best ally. Don’t buy into ageism, sexism, racism, homophobia and other oppressive social forces.
- Get ALONGSIDE others – collaborate, inspire, follow – this multiplies our energy and impact
- Use tools for RESILIENCE as an individual and in groups
- Include everyone in the setting you find yourself in; build on commonalities to create pop-up COMMUNITIES.
How can an individual make an impact on climate change? By standing on a good foundation in yourself, linking with others and bringing them along with you
Kit Shepherd, Convenor Transition Bondi, Sept 2022