Click this picture to see the whole thing. It is a sign describing what happens when someone drops litter - how long it takes to decompose. Someone designed and made that sign and it effects the decisions made by the people that visit the park where it is located.
How much impact does a single person really have on the world?
A few people become famous through athletic ability, acting, politics, or terrible acts of violence. But, the vast, vast majority of us are unknowns in a global sense. We exist, live, and die being known by a miniscule number of people. If there are 7 billion people on the planet and you interact with 7,000 of them, you've reached 1 out of a million. Even if you count all your Facebook friends, you probably don't really know or care about 7,000 people.
Since we have such small spheres of relationships, it can be difficult to think our actions have a global impact. But, every decision you make does ripple out to some extent, effecting people you don't even know and that have never heard of you. We DO need to think on a global scale when we live our lives.
Here's an example. I'm deciding if I should take an alcohol stove or a isobutane stove on the Arizona Trail
next spring. The alcohol stove is just a couple pop cans, uses easy-to-find alcohol, but doesn't put out as much fast heat as the other. The isobutane uses canisters, took a lot of resources to manufacture, and does an excellent job.
Whichever I choose will consume resources and fuel and provide heat for my cooking. By choosing the alcohol stove, my environmental impact is much less because I'm recycling and creating less waste. By choosing the isobutane stove, I'm spreading my wealth to the companies that make the stove and the canisters and the stores that sell them in towns along the trail.
If we choose to walk or drive, leave the laptop on or turn it off, mow the yard every day or every week, keep the air conditioning at 72 or 78, we change our impact on the world. If we think globally, we try to minimize our negative impacts and maximize our positives. It's easy to convince ourselves that the decisions don't matter, but they do.
Ants are a good demonstration. In my yard, there is a little ant hill. If you look closely, an ant brings up one grain of sand at a time. One grain of sand is trivial, it doesn't make a difference. But over the course of a day or two, with everyone doing a small amount, there's a big pile of grains and a new community underground.
Thinking on a global scale helps me make better choices. A large group thinking globally and making their individual decisions with the good of others in mind, even people they don't know or possibly aren't even born yet, are bound to increase the overall good. I think that's what we should be about - trusting that others will do good and doing our best to do good and show others how it's done.
Posted: 14:20 09-09-2011 668 Previous Post Next Post
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