Here are some notes I made back in 2015 about why I believe that every small action matters and counts, taking a simple example of recycling one bottle.
Some people might not bother to do something, such as recycle a 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 on a different stage in their development and awareness, and some people may genuinely not care about or understand the benefits to 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.
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 just as much as any one of theirs.
(Of course, if we’re talking about plastic bottles here, it’s better not to buy them in the first place – use a refillable bottle! 😉 )