I am a strong believer that our individual actions do matter, that the everyday choices we make can contribute to meaningful change. Sometimes, we may think that our individual behaviour change seems insignificant when set against the big, systemic issues of how the world is operating at the moment, but there is solid evidence that says the seemingly small actions of individual people can add up to create powerful impact. One of my favourite quotes that speaks to this is a Tanzanian proverb, which says:
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”
I first heard this while I was in Cambodia on a missions trip with my church, and it immediately struck me because it so perfectly encapsulated all we were learning during our experience. Phnom Penh is somewhat of a hub of NGOs and social enterprises, so we learnt a lot about businesses that exist for social good, and the idea that every time we buy something, we are endorsing a company and its activities. We heard the harrowing stories of women who moved from province to city due to poverty and climate-related lack of food security to work in oppressive conditions to make our clothing, and I decided afresh that I didn’t want to support such exploitative businesses through my purchasing power.
Through this and other experiences I’ve become a strong believer that being a Christian should impact how I live each and every aspect of my life, from the products I buy, to the amount of resources I consume and waste I produce, because my actions are to be driven by love of God and neighbour (Luke 10:27), not by social norms. Global issues such as international trade and climate change mean my actions here in Australia can’t be separated from the lives of those living in poverty and climate-vulnerability across the globe; we are all connected. So it is my responsibility to live in such a way that enables others to thrive, not to perpetuate the systemic injustices that constrain people in inequitable circumstances.
Sarah Parkinson is a volunteer at TEAR Australia. Original post can be found here.