The idea of changing the world can be daunting. It’s not only easy but understandable to think, “I’m only one person; what can I really do?” If every person thinks that, nothing will get done. But if every person did just one thing to make the world a better place today, billions of acts of kindness, social responsibility and generosity would take place — and wouldn’t that alone change the face of this planet?
Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and just because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” That is the attitude in which authors Linda Catling and Jeffery Hollender wrote the book How to Make the World a Better Place: 116 Ways You Can Make a Difference. Here is a list of some of their ideas, and a few others, on how to make the world a better place one small action at a time.
1. VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME AT LOCAL SCHOOLS
Whether you have a school-age child or not, children are the future of this world. Spend time helping them reach their potential by tutoring, mentoring or taking part in an after-school program.
2. RECOGNIZE THE HUMANITY OF OTHER PEOPLE, AND RESPECT THEIR DIGNITY
Consciously realize that the homeless man you pass on the street every day is, in fact, a man. Through choices of his own or circumstances out of his control, he ended up in this situation, and that makes him no less human. Say hello and warmly greet him. Your greeting could bring healing to his heart, and help heal the world one person at a time. Treat people as equals, no matter how you interpret their social standing.
3. USE LESS PAPER
Our forests are being cut down at an alarming rate. Conserve the trees by conserving paper. Send an e-mail instead of a letter, type directions into your cell phone instead of writing them down, and bring your own fabric shopping bags to the store.
4. DRIVE LESS
Even the use of hybrid vehicles contributes to carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and reduced air quality. Take a moment to consider how you can use your personal vehicle less. You could carpool or take public transportation to work, walk to church, or bike to pick up a few things from the store and make the world a better place.
5. CONSERVE WATER
Taking long showers and letting the water run as you brush your teeth are indulgences that negatively impact our world. Try to limit your water usage by timing how long you have the water running, and trying to beat that time the next time you turn on the faucet.
6. DONATE TO CLEAN WATER CHARITIES
A large portion of the world is without fresh drinking water. Educate yourself about the drought epidemic, and make the world a better place by donating to organizations and charities helping to fight against the lack of clean water around the globe. Your donation could result in the reduction of preventable, water-related diseases.
7. BE GENEROUS
It’s easy to be selfish with your time, money, and resources by getting caught up in our material-driven societal expectations. Try being generous and see how your life changes. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks, read to children at your local library, or simply stop and listen for the answer when you ask a friend how they’re doing. Chances are that your generosity will energize you, and you’ll feel less helpless about how to make the world a better place.