Individual power of change

Forget social movements and actors, you can make change.

This is Circe, one of my oak saplings I am growing.  Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

This is Circe, one of my eight oak saplings I am growing. Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

Individuals have no need to wait for a social movement, a celebrity endorsement or a disaster to make simple and small changes of steps now that benefit this planet and their community.  Small steps can include recycling, planting a tree or picking up litter. In the deeds and choices the individual makes they feel empowered and gain wisdom through experiential activity helping this planet and their community.

You may have heard about the ice bucket challenge where people are emptying ice-cold water over their heads in aid of ALS research which is a motor neurone disorder.  Many participants of the ALS challenge do so without bothering to learn what ALS is, or donate to the research; they follow a social trend with no understanding or interest of what it is about.  The ALS challenge echos the problems of the Occupy Movement, most of the participants had no goals or idea why they were protesting.  Many participants of mass social movements do so mindlessly without interest or understanding what such movements are about.

Russell Brand is a British celebrity involved in comedy, is becoming increasingly vocal in social and ecological movements.  When I take a closer look at Brand I find despite all the words he has no vision or answers to the issues he seems so passionate about.  I am cynical about Brand, who seems to lack authenticity.

The power of change is authentic and effective only at the individual level, that is I and you, and we have no need of social movements or celebrities to make our little ripples of positive change into the world.


10 responses to “Individual power of change

  1. I must say I’m less dismissive of the Occupy movement myself. I feel the idea of gathering to discuss ideas about society and how it may run for the good of all makes a lot of sense. The movement was criticised for not having a manifesto I know, as this is what’s expected of political movements of course – a chicken and egg situation?

    And yet gathering experts in an array of fields to collectively discuss ways forward seems to me a sensible approach when compared to the tribal politics and appointment of media-savvy leaders we are lumbered with today. One wonders whether we need leaders at all for that matter.

    I entirely agree with you that change must come at the individual level. We can’t hope to put other peoples’ houses in order prior to doing so with our own. Still, there remains a nation to be run, a society to be sustained in a more-or-less cohesive manner. The question seems to be one of our leaders doing as little damage as possible in the interim!

    With gratitude and respect.


    • Hi Hariod, thanks for your insights. I am sure there were people at the Occupy Movement who knew why they were there and had a goal; there were many others who were along for the ride to have fun and party, they did not understand what Occupy was about.

  2. In the deeds and choices the individual makes they feel empowered and gain wisdom through experiential activity helping this planet and their community. Yes! Also, the individual is always setting an example, and wittingly / unwittingly, by the simple conscious, deliberate choice he / she makes, is a leader.

    • You are right, and it is by example that many great positive changes are possible. I think of example as like throwing stones in the water, the ripples in the water is the influence the individual has on others through their actions and choices.

  3. I agree, the best way to make any significant changes is to change the way we act & think every day. The small ripples begin to magnify as the people who surround you catch on. I wish more people were cognizant of this rather than waiting for a leader to rally them to a cause.

  4. Hi Alex. I have to give you credit for choosing the oak. As you know, they are very slow growing, yet you will leave a great legacy if they grow to their full potential. I seek out a suitable oak that will grow here and though I have planted and even started grafting fruit trees to plant for the world as free food, I yearn to leave a mighty oak, as well.
    I completely agree that our personal actions are so powerful as to be able to change the world, however small that world is at the moment. Our actions can be equally impotent, sadly, and riding on the celebrity bull with ice buckets, etc… is extremely unappealing to me. I have not seen one video and refuse to watch any. I did hear of one celebrity using toilet water, so as not to waste clean water and perhaps this is just another stunt, though I have no way of knowing if this is true, nor will I seek out the answer.
    It’s quite rewarding to do that one thing that can make a difference and set a real example. I finally had enough of a crop of raspberries this year to share (sell) at the farmer’s market and it felt wonderful to share my clean food with people at a reasonable price and know that I am doing my part to provide an example, as one person.
    Good post. Please post periodically on the growth of the oaks!

    • Hi Seapunk, I am glad you had an abundant raspberry harvest to share with the world. I think it is a good way of looking at it, sharing positive change with the world, a change that you planted within, which grew and became abundant.

      An oak tree can live 500 or more years, so it is a worthy legacy to leave, which will provide food, shelter and a home for people and living things for hundreds of years after your death – a living legacy.

  5. I agree Alex Change starts within ourselves.. and its no good expecting to look to someone else if we are not prepared to take that step ourselves.. I think there are many celebrities who give their name to various causes and yet who do not fully comprehend them..
    Good points…

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