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There are many issues that need debating, where minds can be changed, or the jury is still out. On the other hand, there are a suite of issues where the fact-based battle has already been won. We are hopefully on the same page in knowing that climate change is caused by people, that mental health matters, and that when women do better, all people do better.
The good news is that regarding these issues, we have a solid foundation of shared truth (or a lack of alternative facts) to work from. But what do we do with all this knowledge? For most individuals, it means confronting some habits and changing them to reflect their beliefs.
Take climate change for example. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle requires significant habit breaking and forming. Such a lifestyle would include; buying locally, using biodegradable cleaning products, recycling, switching off lights, going to the coffee shop with compostable cups and then actually putting that cup in the compost, to name but a few examples.
It’s at this stage that you run into arguments like “I’m only one person, what difference can I make?” or “others have more influence/power/wealth than me, so they should act — it’s not my responsibility.”
But your choices do matter and we’re all responsible!
Your decision to participate in Thursdays in Black could be meaningful to those who have experienced violence. Bringing your own drink bottle to uni prevents a heap of plastic bottles inevitably going to landfill. Asking for preferred pronouns at the beginning of a meeting could spare another person from unnecessary pain.
Your actions affect others. You might be surprised to learn that knowing about an issue isn’t what motivates someone to change a related habit — it’s whether they think others are acting that way too. You are influential.