I’m one of those who wants to save the world, but is often pulled down by her own insignificance.
I want to see change. I want to live in a world where there are no wars, no discrimination, no Pacific garbage patch, no climate change crisis and no accelerated mass extinction.
Often, I try to make small changes in life that I hope, over time, will accumulate and amount to something. I assume a lot of you are the same. But if you’re anything like me, this drive to make a difference is often attenuated by hopelessness – especially when you realise that the world is run by rich politicians, indifferent governments and giant corporations that couldn’t care less.
Then there’s the cynicism, which stems from the realisation that one person fighting to make a difference won’t amount to much.
Finally, there’s pessimism, when one feels like too much damage has already been done and there’s no way we’re getting out of this mess.
Believe me, currently I’m feeling all three.
So, here’s my humble plea to anyone who’s considered switching to metal straws instead of plastic straws, but is apprehensive because you wonder if it will actually make a difference: do it. To anyone who’s trying to make the slightest of difference, but feels like it’s futile and will be forgotten: do it anyway.
I’m a pessimist and have convinced myself that we – humans – have done irreparable damage to the planet. But I’m going to continue trying my best to make this better.
Why, you may ask?
Because when enough people with good intensions start using pessimism as an excuse, we end up right where we started – nowhere. You can always count on the bad to be just that, but, perhaps, the world would be very different if you could say that about the good. We often forget that small acts of goodness have value. And most of all, we forget that our inactions have consequence, too.
Don’t forget, we’re seven billion creatures of habit, and we spend each day resigned to our old habits, inadvertently adding to the huge pile of human misery that already exists. It adds up, and is never going to slow down or stop. Not unless we do something.
We speak too much, think too much, but do we ever act enough?
Maybe if a thousand people, out of a billion, decide to make small changes to their lives, it buys us an extra month before it all ends. Maybe the months add up, and we buy ourselves an extra year. Maybe, someday, if enough people act, the years will start adding up, too.
The point is not to prevent the inevitable, only to prolong it. It’s about finding a little ray of hope that allows us to keep fighting.
How does an extra year matter? Maybe it’s the year countless parents will watch their children graduate. Maybe a few extra couples will get married, or perhaps a few people will read a few extra books. Each minute we buy ourselves, countless people have a chance to experience little fleeting moments of life, joy and love.
After all, we’re all transient beings the universe made conscious for a cosmic blink of a second . Soon, we’ll all fade away. Let’s not go down without a fight. Each little thing you want to do matters, to someone, something, somewhere. Do it.
Bhavya Deepti is a third year BS-MS Student at IISER-Mohali, majoring in Biological Sciences. She aspires to be an Ecologist.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty