French helps here: Tu (singular, familiar form of you) will not, on your own, save the world – from whatever it needs saving. But vous (plural, formal) just might. All the yous together make an us, a we, an ourselves, that can do this – if we choose to.
We can mitigate some aspects of climate change; we can change attitudes; can beat viruses; can end hunger. We can make sure every child on the planet is fed, loved and educated. We can make our world a kinder place.
But will we? Will you? Will you add your tu to the collective vous?
Let me share a really simple way to begin: Stop – Start – Continue.
Pick a theme that helps make the world a better place (personal, local, national, global – your choice). Then choose one, small action that you will STOP doing; one that you will START doing; and one that you will CONTINUE to do.
The psychology is simple and beautiful: STOP is the usual, expected injunction – stop wasting food; stop smoking; stop ignoring nature’s cries for help. We’re used to this kind of thing from our schools days – even if we don’t like it, it’s familiar.
But START is positive: a meaningful action and personal impact. It gets you up and moving with purpose.
and CONTINUE is a wonderful affirmation that you were already doing something positive. It’s confirmation that you’re playing your part.
Here’s one of my SSCs:
STOP eating meat at breakfast and lunch. (I’ll take the full leap one day, I promise)
START using the Too Good To Go “end food waste” app. (surprise bags of just-going-out-of-date goodies from chain and independent cafes, supermarkets and coffee shops)
CONTINUE getting oddbox deliveries (the unwanted, overbought, unloved yet perfectly in-date-and-edible vegetables that would otherwise end up in landfill)
Small actions; my agenda; not everyone’s, but a micro-contribution to the more ethical use and consumption of food. Why this focus? For me, just the statistics really:
931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019 (UN Report)
820 million people went hungry in 2019 (WHO Report)
It’s not my intent for you to conflate the two findings though it’s hard not to feel a horrible irony. Other numbers are available for juxtaposition – funding to treat diabetes vs that for malnutrition for example (go look). And you can even watch these kind of numbers grow and change live here at Worldometer.
They say those of us over 50 won’t be around to see the world boil. But our children and grandchildren will be, and surely that’s more than enough of a reason for tu and vous and you to act now.
What is your STOP-START-CONTINUE?