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7 BIllion Steps

Updated: Apr 21

We can often feel that what we do makes little difference. We can feel that our one choice, our one purchase, our one vote, means nothing. So we do nothing because us on our lonesome makes no difference.


But, what if everyone thought that? What if everyone on the planet thought that they couldn’t make a difference so everyone everywhere just stopped, and did nothing? I can almost hear the desolation, along with the creaking of the world falling apart. That’s gloomy.


A happier, kinder world.


When I’m asked what my purpose is, I always answer that I believe I am here to make the world a happier, kinder place than when I joined it. That’s quite a big statement. I don’t believe I can reach everyone in the world, but I do believe that, with every person I can reach, they will reach others, and those others will reach more, and the happiness and kindness will spread. One of my favourite quotes, by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead is Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. And that can be with everything; with kindness, with policies, with human rights, with environmental issues, with EVERYTHING.


Now, I know I am not an expert, and I know I could change things to live more ethically, but, that’s sort of my point. Do I stop doing the ethical things I already do because I’m not doing everything possible? Or do I see each action I take as one good step to a happier, kinder world? Obviously, as I’ve already told you my purpose, you’ll know it’s the second one. I believe that, if we all take one step forward in living more ethically, that’s 7 billion steps! That’s a lot of steps! And, imagine if we all took two steps? Or if some of us took 3 and 4, even 5 steps? Isn’t that getting into trillions territory?! Trillions of steps to make the world a better place? Sounds great to me!


So, what do I do, in my home and in my business? Now, before I go any further, I want to reassure you that I really mean it when I say one step forward is better than no steps in living a more ethical way; the choices I have made are exactly that: my choices. Your choices will be different and that’s okay. And, many of the things I am about to talk about took me years and years to decide upon and implement, so I am also not asking you to do it all NOW. Thinking about doing it, and making small changes here and there are good.


A work in progress.


In our home, we eat mostly plant based food, but I still eat fish; see! Already I have shown you that I am not doing everything I could! And that’s just one of many things. For me, it came down to deciding what was more important: my tastebuds or an animal’s life? It wasn’t a quick decision! I liked meat! But I could no longer look at a pig and express how cute it is, then have pork belly for my tea. And I have only not eaten meat for around 5 years.


Omnipotence


My first step towards living more ethically was boycotting Nestle, when I heard about the baby milk scandal; over the years, I have learned more about them, about their child labour, about their animal testing, about their stealing from communities. I thought I boycotted everything they did straight away but, years later, I found out that they own lots of companies, including ones I was still buying from; I stopped buying from those, too. They’re a ginormous company so there’s a possibility that I am still buying from them somewhere along the line, though I do check every now and then, but I feel I am doing my bit. I am taking one step forward.


A less cruel world.


The next thing I did was stop buying products that had been tested on animals; there were so many alternatives that I couldn’t justify washing my hair with a shampoo that had been rubbed in a rabbit’s eyes to ensure it wouldn’t sting mine; I’m an adult so I am quite good at avoiding getting shampoo in my eyes. With medication, this is harder, and, having disabilities, as I do, it can be hard to avoid, but, with my cosmetic and household products choices, I am taking one step forward.


For the love of orangutans.


The last big change I made was removing products that contain unsustainable palm oil. We go to Monkey World in Dorset a lot; it’s our favourite place. They started talking about palm oil and the effects on the natural environment of many of the primates that now live at the park. We felt that it would be hypocritical to bemoan how sad it was that so many primates, and other creatures, were losing their homes to deforestation but not do anything about it. This Iceland advert also hit me hard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ha6xUVqezQ&t=16s I am not so rigid that I police the food I eat when out at restaurants but, again, I am making one step forward.


Awards ceremony.


Now, about my business. My work is about my purpose and, where I can, I think about the impact I am making. As well as teaching people how to be more confident and have higher self-worth, I also make suggestions of things people can do that are more environmentally friendly. For example, when I send out my children’s books, I wrap them in tissue paper, put them in a box, and enclose (most of the time! Sometimes, I forget) a list of 25 alternatives to do with the packaging, in addition to recycling; these include things like making a sleigh for your toys, or making a photo frame for a picture, or making a crown, or turning it into a treasure chest. I now have over 50 suggestions. You can see my books here: https://www.vieness.co.uk/product-page/pre-order-who-am-i


Also, in my A Box Full Of Family Fun cards, I suggest 30 activities that groups of people can do to boost confidence and communication, and many of them suggest using/re-using items around the home; one of my favourites is having an awards ceremony and making the awards out of items in the recycling bin. You can see the cards here: https://www.vieness.co.uk/product-page/a-little-box-of-family-fun


And then there’s the bunting. I have Growth Mindset and Affirmation Bunting; both have the option of being printed out in colour or to colour in. I always recommend that they are printed out to colour in; this saves ink, being more environmentally friendly, and it also encourages people to talk about the piece they are colouring in; a win-win. You can see the bunting here: https://www.vieness.co.uk/product-page/growth-mindset-bunting-to-decorate


One small step for humankind; one giant leap for the planet.

I know there are more things I could do, and I am sure I will as time goes on, but, for now, I am happy with my steps forward. And my steps fit with my purpose of making the world a kinder, happier place.


Now, without being hard on yourself, what steps could you take to make the world happier and kinder? I would love to know. Please do share them with me.



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