I have decided to embark on a project to change the world. I want to prove the theory “One person can make a difference” and truly test it to see just how much one person can do starting small and seeing where the project takes me.
Over the past few weeks I have done a few things to start this vision rolling. The first thing I did was buy and plant a small red maple tree for my mom. This made my mom’s day because I did something nice for her and it also improved the world around me….how you may ask well I wanted to research this to make sure that I wasn’t giving myself an undue pat on the back. It turns out planting a tree does have many benefits.
According to the Bowling Green KY tree advisory board trees have social, community, environmental and economic pros. Some of which are:
- Children are proven to learn better and hospital patients recover faster when time is spent outdoors. There is even evidence that just the view of trees can improve a patients recovery time.
- Trees beautiful your surroundings often turning a bleak or otherwise grey looking environment into a living one.
- Trees can add the finishing touch to beautiful landscape while improving the air around you
- Trees can lower what is known as the urban heat island effect
- Trees filter harmful dust and pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.
- Trees create oxygen that we need to breathe.
- Trees reduce erosion and pollution in our waterwaysand may reduce the effects of flooding by reducing the amount of storm water runoff
- Wildlife of all kinds depend on trees for habitat.
So I include a one hour task of planting a tree to my efforts. I hope the tree will flourish and grow as this project does and that both will benefit the world for years to come.
My second small act was to start a gratitude campaign to see if being more grateful in itself can have a ripple effect. I have already proven that it does. In the past two weeks I sat down and wrote a list of everyone I could think of that had affected my life. I then each day am taking fifteen minutes to an hour (while sitting in front of the television watching my favorite show “The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos) and make a small card or right a letter for each person. Telling them I am grateful to know them. I have sent 32 card in two weeks. Some people I write long letters catching them up on 17 years of news others was just an anonymous note saying thank you for touching my life. Of the letters I did sign I have already heard from eight people either through amusing letters or cards or just a small note on facebook. Each one brightened my day by responding. Three of the responses sent me heart felt notes stating that they had been struggling or down and their day was improved, their heart was lightened by a simple card. Sometimes I will just forward an email joke that I know a friend will appreciate with a short note stating I was thinking of them. This doesn’t change the world but it keeps my friendships going, brings at least a smile once in a while and helps me and them remember they are important to me no matter how busy life gets.
Another action I took recently was to join Amnesty International. I have written several letters and emails which took me a few minutes to complete as Amnesty provides a great form letter showing how to have your voice heard. They also have petitions you can sign for cases around the world of injustice and this provides a real and easy way to help. It literally took two mintues for me to add my name to petitions for three worthy causes. I may not be able to do alot at the moment but I can help. www.amnesty.ca is really worth a look if you want to start making a difference in some way and don’t know where to start.
I also joined the www.one.org campaign. This is another way to take action in a small way but to know you can help. Poverty and lack of health care and proper nutrition is a world wide issue. When researching their focus I found they touch on several issues facing under developed countries-HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB, Education, Development assistance and Debt cancelation, maternal and child health issues, water and sanitation and agriculture and food. Adding my name to their petition gives me a way to feel empowered.
I may not have done anything miraculous yet but things are off to a good start. I have learned about trees, human rights and hunger while bringing smiles to dozens of friends faces if even for a minute. I also received several smiles on my own face as I received hello notes back and got my cd from Amnesty thanking me for joining their efforts.
I am off to make a few cards to stick in the mail before I study a bit. I have a ton of apples and pears going soft I think I will make a fruit cobbler for dessert and make a small one for an elderly acquiantance in a local nursing home. It will take me 15 minutes to make the cobbler. It can bake while I am working out, then I can drop it off on my way to Canadian Tire. That will take an extra ten minutes out of my day….but I garauntee it will give him something to talk about for the week to come and a smile as he has a peice of cobbler with his afternoon tea.
By the end of my project I want to be ready to go to Africa. I want to prove to the world that one crazy freelance writing single 30 something lady from the middle of Canada can make a difference….So no one has an excuse!!!