Change is a part of our lives as humans, but most of us don’t think of how we are affecting change unless we are going to redecorate a room or try a new haircut. It’s often very subtle because it happens so gradually that we don’t realize that it has happened until we look back years later. Our bodies are continually changing and growing new cells. Trees and animals change, as well as other forms of nature. Styles of clothing and cars change, and so does everything else. The entire world is changing constantly, whether we want it to or not.
Why should we just let things happen when we can push the future in a direction that’s positive for us as well as for other living creatures? Affecting change means that we stop being passive bystanders because we consciously make decisions that will affect us and the world in a positive way.
Just recently, a major Internet search engine had an article on their opening page explaining how a career woman could be well dressed with a basic wardrobe of 10 pieces of clothing. To some people, that would be unthinkable and even shocking. For years, women have tried to have as many outfits and clothing items that they could possibly afford and could fit in their closets. To decide to live with less when you could have more is affecting change. Producing the myriad of extra clothing that simply sit in peoples’ closets required chemicals on the fabrics when they were made. In addition, polluting smoke from factories affected the air when the clothing was produced. Besides, many of the extra jackets, coats, and other items require dry cleaning which emits even more chemicals into the air we breathe.
Laundry detergents used to have harsh chemicals that really got clothes clean and bright, but the new green detergents and cleaning items are made in response to saving the environment. Many work just as well without using harsh chemicals. This, again, is affecting change if we decide to “go green” with the cleaning products we use in our homes. Even though studies aren’t yet conclusive, they have pointed to the use of chemicals in the home as a factor in Attention Deficit Disorder in children. Other studies link harsh chemical cleaners to various forms of cancer. So if we decide to use gentler products, we may be saving our lungs as well as the environment.
We can think of affecting change in the world in a more dramatic way that could lead us to the world of the future, 100 years from now. Humans could begin now to make decisions that would have a positive effect on future generations. We could save the earth by getting back to the ecological state where it was before humans ever lived here by eliminating harmful chemicals and finding natural products to replace those. Radical ecologists see a whole new world without much industry in the future.
If you’re not ready for a change that big, you may want to consider change in a personal way. Maybe you would like to buy one less tie, one less pair of shoes, or one less article of clothing and take the money you saved to plant a tree in your yard or in a friend’s yard. Or, you might want to install energy-saving light bulbs or a programmable thermostat in your home. Living with less, not because you have to, but because you choose to, is a way of affecting change. Even if we think that change is not happening, we can’t deny it if we live in this world.