The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Sometimes I’ll hop on social media and see what feels like a never-ending supply of influencers, all of which are constantly posting about how they’re literal saints and are single- handedly changing the world. After aimlessly scrolling for longer than I’d like to admit, I can’t help but ask myself, what difference do I make in the world?
When I take a step back and genuinely think about what I do for the world, I realize the world is not a realistic scale to measure. The entire world? How could I possibly influence all 7.98 billion people on this earth, especially without a huge platform? When making my scale more realistic, I come across a secondary issue of how small of a scale is considered realistic. Obviously I influence my own life, considering I’m the person who makes all of my executive decisions, but what about other peoples’? Let’s take a look at my friends. I could influence their decisions on very generic things like what we’re gonna eat or what movie to watch, but what about topics that make an impact on the world? It wasn’t until a recent conversation with my friends that I realized I do make a difference.
It’s important to preface that I’m a very strong advocate for climate change and other global matters involving the environment. Although I can’t go and have keynote speeches at every “save the turtles” campaign event, I can make a lot of effort to maintain changes in my lifestyle that have environmental benefits. For example, I always carry around reusable utensils in my backpack, I only ever use reusable shopping bags, I always recycle down to a T, and I make many other small changes. Anyways, back to the main point. The other day I was with my friends and after eating some fast food, I saw one of them standing in front of the bins for recycling, frozen in confusion, and I realized they didn’t know which bins to put each piece of the McDonald’s cup in. So naturally I went up to them and helped them out. At first I was weirded out that they didn’t know where what went, but then I realized it’s because they usually just throw everything in the trash. I ended up asking them why they decided to suddenly change their habits and put in that extra effort, and they said it was because of me. Apparently I’m quite vocal about the importance of everyone playing their part in going green, so much so that they decided to take it upon themself to do their part.
Ever since this moment, I’ve been watching more attentively to see how I influence my friends in other ways. Today is “Orange T-shirt Day” for the “Every Child Matters” movement, and it’s very important to me, so I texted our group chat last night reminding everyone to wear orange. All day today as I saw my friends, each one (without knowing everyone else did the same) come up to me to either show me what article of clothing they were wearing that was orange or explain to me that they checked their closet, their brother’s closet, and even their parents’ but couldn’t find any orange. In fact, because of me, one of my friends actually bought 6 of the orange sprinkle donuts from TimHortons, all proceeds from which go to indigenous communities.
Seeing how much my friends prioritize things that they know I care about literally made my week! It’s crazy to see how much just being vocal about things that are important in my life can influence other peoples’ lives to such an extent. And logically speaking, in a sort of butterfly effect, if enough people are influenced to make these changes, eventually you will have in fact helped influence the world.