Small Ripples Make Big Waves


More and more I hear around me that small things don’t have any effect. “Why would I, it doesn’t change anything” is something that’s being said a lot. I don’t agree! If we don’t do anything, nothing will ever change. Standing still is going backwards, or something like that.

This is true for a lot of things, whether it’s voting for a (local) government or doing something for the environment and everything in between. If we don’t do anything, nothing is going to change, and with that we don’t really have a right to complain about it, as we’re not doing anything to change it..

What I run into mainly is “doing something for the environment”. They jokingly call me Mother Nature, because “I’m so into it”. I don’t even notice it, for me it’s so normal and a habit to separate my trash, produce as little waste as possible and things like that, but for others it appears to be a very strange thing. And the subject of mocking.

From laughing and whispering to purposely throwing away plastic in the paper bin, so I, neurotic as I am, fish it out again and dispose of it properly. Old news and so boring, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore. Come up with something new, like putting plastic where it belongs. Thát’s how you surprise me!

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. To go back to the title of this post and the much heard “it doesn’t matter”. Start thinking differently. Every action is one step towards change; for every action there is a reaction. So if you do something, no matter how small, there will always be an effect. Small ripples make big waves!

There are obviously many examples I could mention of small things everyone can do to make a difference. From separating your waste to riding your bike more often on errands close to home, it is not a big effort, all small things matter to create a better environment and to protect nature. But have you thought about your coffee or tea drinking habits? Not that you have to start drinking less coffee or tea (in fact you don’t HAVE to do anything) but the way you drink it can make a difference and takes little effort.

Recently I participated in the ISF Save A Cup Challenge. Of which I won’t publicly announce my results yet as the ISF Environment team will reveal all results next month. The Save A Cup Challenge was focussed on using less paper, plastic or styrofoam cups to cut back waste and CO2 emission.

Normally I already drink my coffee or tea from a mug, I don’t like drinking from plastic cups. But I was still curious how much it cuts back on CO2 emission by doing so. For 4 weeks I counted how many plastic cups I normally save by using my mug at the coffee machine at the office. I had no idea how much CO2 emission plastic cups create!

Something everyone can do who regularly gets a cup of coffee or tea at a machine in the office! Trade in those plastic cups for your own mug. At my office we have mugs in the kitchen, but I prefer my own. So I drag mine along every day. Maybe you don’t feel like doing that, I can totally image, but maybe it’s an option and a possibility to get a mug in the office. It’s just as much trouble as a plastic cup, but it doesn’t only drink a lot better, it’s also much better for the environment. It’s a small ripple in a big ocean, but those small ripples can make big waves when you bring back the plastic cups waste.

And if you don’t drink tea or coffee, but prefer water for instance, how about using a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water from the store. Easy right?!

These are small examples creating small ripples. But together we can make big waves out of those ripples. Whether it’s for the environment or change in other things, small but important.

Photo via Mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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