Did you change the world today?

No? Are you sure?

Not when you woke up this morning between your Egyptian cotton sheets, shuffled on your Cornish sheepskin slippers, yawned, stretched and had a hot shower? Not when you poured your Ethiopian coffee, whitened with Devon milk and sweetened with  Malawian sugar? Not when you dressed and slipped your Made in Korea mobile phone, humming with  coltan from the Democratic Republic of Congo, into your Made in Bangladesh pocket? Not when you helped your neighbour with her dustbins, and put out your own recycling bin before starting your Korean-manufactured car, as its Malaysian rubber tyres turned, its Nigerian oil-based petroleum burned and the exhaust fumes drifted towards the sky?

All day you’ve been shifting atoms, raising and lowering temperatures, diverting money from one economy into another, altering the chemical composition of the air around you, causing people to have new thoughts, different emotions, higher or lower incomes…

But isn’t ‘changing the world’ about the big, meaningful changes? I hear you cry.

Yes, and each of the infinitesimally small changes you make every day is adding up… and if some of your actions trigger changes in the thoughts and actions of those around you, if they set in motion a chain of re-actions – as they well might, whether you know it or not – over your lifetime, the cumulative impact of your little changes on the world will be exponentially bigger and more meaningful.

For example, next time you reach out your hand towards a supermarket shelf, the particular pack of tea (or cotton wool, or spaghetti, or chili powder or condoms or wine) that you choose will provide a single piece of data which will contribute towards the supermarket’s decision about where to buy that product from in future and how much to pay for it. So your little action could help make the world of difference to some struggling farmer in a continent far away.

Yet a farmer who’s close enough for the tea leaves picked by her hands to be brewing in the cup that’s warming your hands, at this very moment.

You are, without doubt, changing the world. Change it wisely.

PS Tomorrow is World Fair Trade Day.

PPS Find out how Ambika, Tanya and Katie are changing the world – together.

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One thought on “Did you change the world today?

  1. mari May 11, 2012 / 10:04 am

    Good piece especially in view of World Fair Trade day. I think its reallyimportant to keeping reminding people abt the impact we can have for good or bad, with these tiny everday choices. I think contributing to the Think Global, Act Local movement is a real step forward.
    Thanks for this one Sabita.

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