TLDR: a short thought today about the power of doing something small and consistently versus the results of changing nothing at all. Apt in the context of climate change and how to tackle it.
I came across this meme a little while ago (Google it – it’s everywhere) and although it seems to have something to do with the “silent resignation” or “quiet quitting” hoo-hah that seems to everywhere at the moment or perhaps something to do with regular exercise, I saw it and thought, “What an interesting way to think about taking action in the face of today’s sustainability challenges.“
I’m not a mathematician, but it does seem to show that there is great power in doing something small consistently as opposed to making no changes at all.
If the formula is correct, this means that if we each choose to continue doing the same things that we have always done, and make no change at all, then we’ll stay on the same path that’s already throwing up serious sustainability challenges, which are going to increase in the future.
However, it also means that if every single one of us committed to a small change, and we acted on that change in a tiny way but in a consistent manner, by the end of a single year, that small change would turn into something fairly substantial.
How wonderful! How inspiring!
And how realistic, too. Although scientists and climate communicators and sustainability professionals constantly insist that massive change is required right now— something that I am sometimes guilty of, too—most people and organisations are designed for evolution (slow, plodding, relatively pain-free) rather than revolution (fast, explosive, painful for many).
What if only some people tackled climate change with small but consistent actions? It would make a positive difference.
What if everyone—not just the “youth of today” and people who describe themselves as an activist—made small and consistent changes to support a more inclusive society or cut down on emissions or protect biodiversity? It would make even MORE of a difference.
Imagine nearly 8 billion people making a difference, every day, in the service of a better world. What could that look like? What could that achieve?
The choice is ours: we can continue doing what we’ve always been doing and watch as scientific warnings become a reality. Or we can do something consistently, even if it’s something small, and watch in wonder as things shift.
What will you do today?
This post originally appeared in Whitby’s Sustainability blog.