By Freya Butler, Second Year Geography Student.
January is often touted as a ‘blue’ month. With the cold, the dark and the impending year ahead, it’s easy to see why. It doesn’t help that everybody in college and all your friends might seem to be feeling down as well. To add to this, the seemingly never-ending list of global problems also doesn’t help.
It’s easy to feel a little hopeless and insignificant, but the world is made up of individuals and everyone’s actions matter and make a difference. If you, like me and many others I know, need a little motivation to get you through the gloomy days, these are some things that prove to me that you’re never too small to change the world, just a little.
‘Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole doesn’t he?’It’s a Wonderful Life
ClimatePrediction.net is the world’s largest climate modelling experiment. With the current pressure of global climate change, understanding how our climate works is incredibly important. This project uses ensemble modelling to simulate many possible climate scenarios: this requires enormous computing power which isn’t available in a single location. Therefore, this project needs the public. By allowing them to use spare space in thousands of personal computers in order to tackle a tiny element of a model, individuals can contribute to scientific understanding which will in turn help us all to tackle the issue of climate change.
Go visit their website if you’re interested in helping these scientists out. Without people like you choosing to make a difference, this project wouldn’t be underway right now.
Give Blood or Join the Organ Donor List
Both of these are incredibly fulfilling things to do. The NHS needs 6000 people to donate blood every day to keep up with demand. It only takes about an hour to donate and donated blood saves lives every day, from young children with blood disorders to victims of terrorism such as the Manchester Arena terror attack. If you would like to know more about how important blood donation is, click here. Alternatively, if giving blood isn’t for you, it’s even easier to join the organ donor list. All you need to do is register here. Currently, there are over 6000 people in the UK waiting for organs. Helping to save someone else’s life if and when the worst happens is a wonderful and generous act.
Even if its just on weekdays, if everyone made an effort to eat less meat, it could have a significant impact on the world. Animals farmed for consumption contribute to 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions and also require huge amounts of energy compared to that required to farm plants. Furthermore, there’s growing evidence that eating meat contributes to health concerns: it has been suggested that a global vegetarian diet could save 7.3 million lives. Although it may seem that your individual actions don’t mean all that much, when scaled up it makes a world of difference. Consciously deciding to be the best global citizens we can be is really all we can do and if everyone adopted that mind-set, we might be able to get somewhere faster. There’s loads of online info on going veggie: for example, check out some vegetarian versions of dinner-time favourites here.
Although it’s easy to feel small in comparison to the whole world, scaling it down and generating a little happiness within each of our own little worlds helps me feel more optimistic. Feeling appreciated can make a lot of difference. The world moves quicker than ever, and everyone is very busy – it can be easy, especially as students, to get caught up in everything going on. It can’t be a bad thing to make it a daily habit to thank someone for something they’ve done, be it face to face, through a Facebook message or even with a handwritten card. Be honest: if someone inspired you or brightened your day, tell them! The world could definitely use a little more kindness. Aesop is quoted as saying that ‘no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’. This is just as true now as it was then. You never know how far your small contribution may go in changing someone’s day for the better.