When we look at the world, we see many things that need changing. People living in poverty, working in dangerous conditions, lacking access to healthcare, education, adequate housing. Other people living with more than they need, and in societies that encourage and neccessitate further consumption. Natural resources that are limited, and natural resources that cannot be safely used.
We recognise the need for change, and also the conundrum that this creates. The world’s resources cannot support a modern, consumerist Western lifestyle for the global population, but nor can we ignore the need for greater economic equality and therefore economic development. We need to use fewer natural resources, but we cannot individually simply stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow. We acknowledge the need to trade ethically and equitably, but our choices are curtailed by the choices made by companies, governments, and corporations on our behalf.
However, in this increasingly interconnected world, we can dare to hope that what we do and the choices we make can make a difference. It might gradually change policies, encourage new and more sustainable lifestyles, or lead to greater equality. Rather than lamenting the size and complexity of the world’s problems or complaining that our actions are pointless unless our neighbours also change, we need to call for individuals and societies to change, while acting as if change has already happened. Change starts now.