Here are some notes I made back in 2015 about why I believe that every small action makes a difference for the planet, taking a simple example of recycling one plastic bottle.
Some people might not bother to do something, such as recycling a plastic bottle, because they think that one person’s action will not make a difference. They are right in thinking that for large scale change to happen, lots and lots of people need to be doing these things, e.g. recycling bottles. But the biggest unit in which we as individuals can change is 1. That is because we are all individuals with free will.
A large group cannot be made or forced to make lifestyle changes, because every person is at a different stage in their life and awareness. Some people may genuinely not care about or understand the benefits of recycling that bottle. But, they can come to that awareness by other people’s example – seeing them recycling bottles of their own free will.
Forcing anyone to do something, whether they are willing or reluctant, is not going to help anything and will give it a negative air. So that’s why you can’t just wait for governments to create rules and systems to make these things happen. Change needs to happen from the bottom up. People need to make changes of their own free will, and, because we are all unique individuals, the largest possible unit for change is 1.
So your action may seem small, but it’s the biggest possible action that anyone can do.
What about large projects and campaigns?
And even if you think, “Well that’s not true, because some people are involved in big projects such as major recycling campaigns and working at recycling facilities. That’s making much more of a difference than recycling one bottle”. Well, remember this. The present moment is the only moment that exists. Their big project is made up of millions of tiny steps, each equivalent in size to recycling one bottle. Just as your life is made up of millions of tiny steps (recycling that bottle is one), your other steps involve many other things, in the areas in which you shine and specialise. That other person may specialise in recycling, but taking it down to moment by moment, your one step matters and counts just as much as any one of theirs.
Related post: 40+ Simple Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Use