General ramblings

How to Change the World

January 1, 2016

I love this time of year.
The newness, the potential, the unsullied clean-ness of a whole New Year waiting to be explored.

I really strongly believe that we can each of us choose in every single moment, to start afresh, to start to write a whole new story for ourselves. In every moment.
We have that power and each moment has that potential.
Which is wonderful, but sometimes difficult to remember. In that moment when it all seems pretty bleak and dark and hopeless, it can be hard to feel like we can start again. That we can keep moving forwards, however infintessimally (is that a word?), we can take the smallest of baby steps forwards.
That’s why I love the New Year. Everything is about starting afresh, learning what we can from all that has gone before, and moving forwards.
On January 1st, it is actually quite difficult to do anything other than turn our thoughts to what is to come. To our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. For the changes we are going to to make.

And the choices that we make today, for the year ahead, can truly change the world.
In fact, they will change the world, in one way or another. Whether they are positive changes or not, depends on us.
Jane Goodall said it better than I ever will:

Making a Difference

OK, admittedly, we might not solve the big issues facing the world: we might not solve world hunger, or create world peace, or stop climate change, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t changing the world.

Since it was mentioned to me on Twitter, I’m totally hooked on this concept of creating ripples.
We can all create ripples. Every day. With everything we do.
We can make better choices, and with them and the ripples that they create, we can not only change our own worlds, but the wider world too.

I know this because I’ve done it.
I changed from being a passive, mindless consumer, blindly buying stuff because I was told I needed it. It didn’t even occur to me to think that there might be another way.
I was vaguely aware of climate change, I knew on some level that t-shirts for £5 didn’t stack up somewhere, and if I was forced to stop and think about it, I would have told you that there was really no ‘away’ when we put stuff in the bin.
But I didn’t think that I could change any of this. I didn’t think that one person could make a difference.
Then I made a decision to spend a year Buying Nothing New.
And I did it. We did it as a family.

It changed our lives.
It changed not just how we live, but it totally transformed how I see the world, and my place within it.
The biggest thing I learned from year of Buying Nothing New, was not how to patch jeans, or how to darn socks, or where to get the things I needed. The biggest thing I learned was that one person can make a difference.
I can make a difference.
What I choose to buy, or not, makes a difference.
It creates a ripple.
It changes the world.
No matter how tiny the change is, it changes. For the better.
Everytime I choose to say ‘No’ to fast fashion; to buy local in season produce; to re-use rather than throw away, I am creating another tiny piece of the world I want for my kids.

We changed how we live.
It wasn’t hard. It was just a succession of baby steps.
But it started with one thing.
OK, so that was a pretty big thing-nothing new for a year can seem pretty daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that big.
Pick one thing: nothing new for a week, or a month; no new clothes; getting a re-usable coffee mug (and remembering to take it out with you!).
Little things or big things, it doesn’t matter.
Pick one thing. And do it.
I cannot tell you how empowering it is.
And then when that becomes your new normal, pick one more thing, and then one more thing, and keep taking those baby steps.

It’s become a cliche, but the Ganhdi quote really is true:

Gandhi

It’s exciting, and it’s empowering, and it gives me so much hope for the future of our planet.
There are so many of us making tiny changes, making better choices, and the ripples are spreading.

I’d love to hear about some of your ripples-do leave a comment to let me know.
And if you’re embarking on a year of buying nothing new, you’re in the right place-I have a whole host of what I hope will be really useful content planned for the months ahead.

xx

Change the World

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8 Comments

  • Reply Kizzy January 2, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Ripples are a great way of describing the effects we can have as individuals. I’m going to be making huge changes in our lives this year with my slowly lived ethos.Have a fantastic 2016

    • Reply Jen January 3, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Hi Kizzy
      A slow year sounds fab-what sort of changes are you planning?
      Have a wonderful 2016 too!

  • Reply Frugal Fingers January 1, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I have seen ripples from when people hear how frugal I am, they think it’s weird, but the next moment I hear how they are making changes, I love that. It happens when they see I am a minimalist too, before I know it, they are telling me about emptying their bookshelf and donating.

    • Reply Jen January 3, 2016 at 8:38 am

      It’s great when that happens isn’t it?!

  • Reply Anne Fraser January 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Jen, yes I am for making ripples too. I’m doing the slow living thing, which I blog about, plus I have been writing letters about things I care about. These might be to manufacturers about their packaging or to the local council or to the newspaper. One that I wrote recently has triggered a group to start up to work on stopping plastic bag use at our local market. I also notice the changes that people around my circle of influence are making, which is related to what I do.

    • Reply Jen January 3, 2016 at 8:39 am

      It sounds like you are doing a brilliant job Anne! Do let us know how the group gets on with the plastic bag ban.

  • Reply Julie K January 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Love this post. I’m hoping to change things here too, just baby steps, but better than doing nothing. I hope to blog about it too.

    • Reply Jen January 3, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Baby steps is what it’s all about Julie-go you!

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