Yes you can make a difference.
In a recent speech, actor Jeff Bridges referenced ocean-going tankers. These require enormous rudders to turn, and it took too much energy to turn the rudder to turn the ship. So engineers came up with a brilliant idea. Let’s put a little rudder on the big rudder. The little rudder will turn the big rudder, the big rudder will turn the ship. The little rudder is called a trim tab.
This is an example of how the individual is connected to society and how we affect society.
“All of us are trim tabs. We might seem like we’re not up to the task, but we are, man. We’re alive! We can make a difference! We can turn this ship in the way we wanna go, man! Towards love, creating a healthy planet for all of us.”
I like to say “small things, close by”.
What difference will my plastic bag make?
How can I contribute to changing the hate and fear in South African society?
How can I help the economy?
I think one of the biggest mistakes in current thinking, publicity and policy, is to focus too much on the huge ship and not on the rudder or the trim tabs.
It is bewildering to think about the scope of problems facing our world, even more when life is full of fake news and our fellow humans love to spread fear on the one hand, and dismiss the efforts for change on the other.
The way we can each influence the world positively is to focus close by. You can influence the lives of those around you. Parents can refrain from passing on their fears, tired prejudices and small world views to their children.
Friends, neighbours and communities can work together reduce their environmental impact or to build a kind and strong town. That can make a material difference that spreads out like ripples from a pebble dropped in water. Life gets better where you live. You and your community become more resilient in the face of challenges. Your stories get shared and inspire and educate others. Children grow up and challenge their world to change, just as we are seeing now.
Governments and corporations are pressured to change policies and practices. People can influence groups, who can influence communities. Towns can change and influence neighbouring towns and regions. Provinces can influence countries.
This is how change starts, whether for the good or the bad. We all have some impact on the world around us and the people in it.
So, how are you influencing the world about you, positively?