Why do individual actions matter?

‘Should I just buy a new dress for the party?’   

‘I can’t change my diet. I’ve always eaten this way.’  

‘Plastic containers are cheaper, so I should just get that.’  


You’ve probably read the quote “It’s only one straw, said 8 billion people”; these daily choices, while they may seem simple, could have a ripple effect on how we treat our planet. With all the negativity surrounding the destruction of our planet, we may assume that our actions are insignificant in making major changes. While it may not seem like our actions of reusing, recycling or repurposing every item may be making a dent in the larger scale of things, we need to realise that every drop in the ocean counts.    

Eating one beef burger does not result in a large number of emissions, but these decisions add up. Since the demand for meat is increasing in some parts of the world, its effects can be felt globally. In fact, anticipated increases in meat and dairy demand make the 2 degrees target hard to achieve. If the demand for meat and dairy continues to increase, it could make up 100% of the entire global carbon budget for a 1.5-degree temperature rise by 2060.  


We have to remember: We are not alone in this fight. When there are many other individuals involved, one individual’s efforts almost always make a difference. Reduced glasshouse gas emissions, for example, will result in minor climate change. Climate change will undoubtedly continue; however, climatic change will be reduced, and that is a great achievement in itself.


Source: The Secondhand Economy 2020, Gumtree.  


If you’re figuring out how to make a difference in the world, you don’t always have to think globally. Every act of service you do adds up and can lead to lasting change. The most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy: Raw materials must be extracted from the earth. The product must be fabricated and then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.  


Simple decisions of re-using, recycling, and repurposing can have a knock-on effect. It can influence others to join the movement as well, and together we can make a difference.    





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