Some people think that the small everyday actions of the normal person don’t mean anything and they don’t add to the overall growth of the world, but actually they mean everything. I had someone tell me a few weeks ago that vegans think they are saving the world by not consuming meat, but it’s actually a lazy action and doesn’t do anything and I thought wow, that’s such a sad statement and also a very common belief. What is the point of not eating meat when animals will die tomorrow anyways? If you aren’t a vegan, don’t worry, this isn’t a long anti-meat essay. This is about how the small things do matter and that when more of us take small actions consistently together we absolutely can change the world.
I think peace is the overall goal and ideal for most people. Even that guy that is trolling you on facebook. I truly believe that the majority of people really want to just mind their own business and not hurt others. Obviously there are a few exceptions to that, but they are a small minority and in an ideal world they would receive the help they need.
So, for this essay I am just going to assume that the majority of people would like to live peacefully at home and do their own thing. So most of us share a common ideal, a really beautiful one, but most of us do not take actions in everyday movements to achieve that. In fact, some of us work against our ideal because we either 1. Don’t see it, 2. Don’t think what we can do is enough so give up, or 3. Ignore it.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Don’t support the wars.
This is such a touchy subject and it is one I often avoid because I hate making people feel bad or making them feel angry. I hate arguing with people and I usually shut down when it becomes an emotional argument. When you discuss that you are anti-war, anti-military, it becomes personal for a lot of people (and with good reason, they did give up a huge piece of their life for this). So if you are military, or have been a part of it, or have close family and friends who you love and support in it, do not take this as a personal attack. I love my brother very much, who also joined the Navy for a brief period of time. I will always love him and respect him, but I do not have to support and love the military.
The military is a huge web and so when I talk about it I want you to know I am discussing it as a whole. It includes everyone from top government officials who are creating the plans and directing the wars and invasions and whatever else, to the ones directly working and acting out those plans, whether they know the full plan or not. So this is everyone that is a part of the military.
Each person, whether they are aware of it or not, adds to the total destruction we face on this Earth. The US military destroys and depletes natural resources all over the globe. They destroy the lands and when they are done with it, they leave the lands in total chaos with toxic chemicals and radiation oozing out of every crack and in every waterway. The weapons they use, the shells, the jet fuel, the nuclear testing sites, etc. this all destroys the Earth.
When we destroy a piece of the Earth we destroy someone’s home. We destroy someone’s ability to live happily and peacefully at home. Not to mention the obvious fact that the people the military targets (lots of civilian casualties) are having their lives constantly broken and they have been unable to repair their lives due to the consistent presence of military nearby, overhead, etc.
Try to eat less meat.
I live in Texas and everyone here really loves their meat. Not only that, but culture is heavily intertwined with food. Food is really special to us. I love sharing a home cooked meal with someone I love. It’s unifying and it feels good, but I also see that in this point and time in life and where I am in my life, changes have to be made in our diets. It is a big deal to change, I get it, but the meat industry (which is where the majority of people get their meat from) are destroying the Earth. Not only are there massive amounts of fecal waste being released into nearby waterways, but also high levels of greenhouse gas emissions being released from the animals.
When we destroy the Earth, again, we destroy someone’s home. We destroy someone else ability to live a life of peace and content. This is not fair and when you decide to not eat meat, or even eat less of it, you give someone else more of an opportunity to live a life they choose. This is a little thing, but it matters to the person living next to the cow farm who inhales toxic fumes and has their natural water source depleted.
Boycott unethical companies that use slave labor.
There are three different types of industrial environmental impacts that are affecting the Earth and lives of people. There is the mining for the natural resources, then there is the chemical process of converting that material into various plastics, batteries, etc., and then there is the factory that puts the pieces together to make the final product that the consumer will purchase.
Each one of these steps is a detriment to the environment. Mining resources from the Earth not only puts the Earth in danger by creating imbalances within the Earth, but it also greatly affects the miners and their families. They are exposing themselves and their neighbors to toxic fumes. The conversion of the raw material into another material is a chemical process. It takes massive amounts of chemicals to create by products from the raw material. These toxic chemicals are released into the air and into the water. Those directly affected are the workers and the people who live close by. Lastly, you have the by product being assembled into the desired item. This is the toys, the computers, the bluetooth speakers, the household items, etc. The workers in these factories are exposed to long working hours, little pay, and toxic chemicals. Many of them get sick from working in these facilities.
Boycotting as many unethical companies as you can is a little thing that makes an enormous difference not only for the Earth, but for the people working under these conditions and the surrounding families living near these facilities.
Grow your own food.
When we grow our own food we take power away from these large scale companies. The produce you buy at the store isn’t always produced ethically. Driscoll has been known to use underage workers, take pay away from workers, and have hostile working environments. They also use pesticides on their produce which affects, again, the people working there and those living nearby. This is just one of many companies who employ unethical production and treatment. When we grow more of our own food, we become less dependent on these large scale companies. We take more of the money, AKA power, away from them.
I realize not everyone has time to grow food and many people do not have space to grow food, but even if you grow one thing, that is better than nothing. The little things matter.
Plastics are one of the biggest detriments to the Earth. Everything is either wrapped in plastic or made with plastic. Plastic is everywhere and it is really hard to get away from it. Taking simple steps like using a reusable water bottle or asking for a paper bag (better yet, having your own reusable bags) at the grocery store makes a huge difference in the amount of plastic we put back out into the world. Plastic is an oil byproduct and it is toxic to the Earth and the animals. Recycling is great, but it also has its own negative effects on the environment and I think it promotes an attitude of passivity. People think because they are recycling, that they are doing their best, but recycling is only one step towards where we need to be (and yes, it is a little thing and it does matter, so if you are not trying to recycle most of your trash you can start there). Ultimately what we need to aim towards is eliminating our waste production. The trash we accumulate ends up in landfills and in the waters. Plastics leak chemicals into the soil and into the water, affecting the animals and the people.
These big companies are investing more into the plastic industry because they have access to lots of oil. We have to make a conscious effort to reduce our dependency on plastics and to reuse what items we can. Something as simple as having a reusable water bottle is important. It takes away from the water bottle industry who are not only aiding in the creation of massive plastic waste production, but are also stealing our natural water resources and claiming it as their own. They do not deserve a single penny from us. This is a little thing, but it matters.
Education is one of the easiest things we can all engage in. It doesn’t mean you need to have a classroom and write up a curriculum. It means talk to people. Know what you stand for and why you stand for it. Know what matters to you, to the Earth, and to the livelihood of people. We want a world where we can all live together peacefully, but we cannot achieve that by supporting the actions of companies and governments who take away the ability for people to live healthy and free lives. We want freedom, but we actively take it away from others.
A lot of people are just unaware of how they affect those around them and so I believe education is one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of achieving world peace. Once we are aware we then have the ability to decide what path we walk. Choose wisely and choose carefully.
WHY THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER
The little things add up to become a much larger thing, but it only works when we all move together, as a unit, as one. I hope that those of us who don’t see these actions as necessary can now see how every step towards peace, is the right step. I hope that we can see how these things add to the misery and destruction of the homes and lives of those far away from us. I hope that we can decide as a unit that any form of destruction, any wave of negativity into the atmosphere is only destructing what we say we want to construct.
At the end of the day, none of these things are going to end the wars. The machine is far too big to end in a single day, although it is totally possible, but we would all have to be on the same page and that is a much more daunting and difficult feat. Often times revolutions happen and all they do is create more turmoil and destruction. People know and feel they want change, but how do we make it to the otherside and quit repeating this cycle? It’s a process. It takes time. Patience is important and I know in certain situations, overseas for example, there is no time for patience. They are being directly shot at and bombed at. They have to act and defend themselves now. Each region of people are facing different circumstances, so this essay isn’t for everyone, necessarily. We all have different roles to play in this movement. For those of us here, in the United States or similar areas, we can do the little things. We are cogs in a much bigger machine and we are constantly adding to the destruction, whether small or large, but our power comes from what we CAN do, not what we CANNOT.
You are powerful. Your actions, your interactions, your thoughts, your motives, your being MEANS something. Don’t you think otherwise and don’t ignore the little things.