What Can One Person Do?
30 Days of Climate Action and Inspiration
We forget how often we have been astonished by extraordinary changes
In nature, phase change is a physical phenomena that shows us how quickly things can change once a system reaches its tipping point.
Let's say that you have placed a kettle of ice cubes in a pot on the stove. You turn on the burner to eventually melt the ice and heat the water. Did you know that until the ice fully melts, the temperature of that water stays at 0 degrees centigrade? No matter how much energy you put into that kettle the evidence on that thermometer would show that the temperature is not changing at all.
Once the ice has completely transformed from solid to liquid, the temperature of the water begins to rise. Eventually, the water will begin to boil. Again the temperature stalls--staying at 100 degree Centigrade until the water is completely turned to steam.
It takes energy to dissolve old structures. We may not see the change (the temperature of water rising) but the dissolution of the bond is happening. Massive change is happening nonetheless.
“There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. What leaps out from the history of the past one hundred years is its utter unpredictability.”
It is natural to think that change happens gradually or that things will remain the way they appear to be right now. That is a mistake. Like the temperature of the melting ice, nature provides so many examples of systems suddenly changing-- a phase change.
All indications are that our currently political, economic, social and environmental systems are in the midst of disruption and change. At the right moment a little energy will go a long way.
What can one person do to create systemic change?
Do what you can!
Do what you love!
Do it together with others.
Do it with intention.
All this is good energy going into a changing system.
One person being brave or being kind is energy countering the old story narrative. All this energy is melting the ice.
We are bringing about a new story.
Who knows, you might just be the last bit of energy that pushes the system to a whole new phase.
1. Seek out local evidence of the shift that is already underway.
2. Identify one more baby step in the right direction.
3. Take that step.
Denise Rushing is an author, blogger, and environmental designer She is passionate about human-scale solutions to global challenges and creating a more beautiful future.