The Power of One 

By Putu Andarisa Widyastiti


“One person in eight billions cannot possibly make a difference.”

This thought alone is enough to leave me curled up in bed, feeling hopeless, thinking that whatever I do will never be enough to tackle the biggest problem that humanity is facing: climate change. In the media we see all kinds of bad news, informing us that we are destroying our only home. The loud, hope-crushing, devastating headlines; they were supposed to be a call for action; they were supposed to get humans to come together. But to me, these headlines are sole reminders that whatever green actions I do every day are just too small, inconsequential and meaningless. This leaves me wondering, do my actions even matter?

I buy my coffee using a reusable cup, get my shampoo from a bulk store because I do not want any more plastic to find its way to the ocean and harm marine life. But a large container ship went up in flames, dumping tons of plastic pellets just off the coast of Sri Lanka, endangering its marine ecosystem.

I eat at least one vegan meal a day, knowing that going meatless would prevent thousands of trees from being cut down for animal agriculture. But the unusually dry weather still sparked fires and flames raged in the Amazon rainforest, charring at least 43,000 square kilometers in 2020 alone.

It’s no longer just climate change; they are calling it climate crisis now. Between a climate conscious individual living in a small city and ignorant giant corporations operating globally, it feels like it’s me against the world.

So how do I keep going every day? The answer lies in my actions and how they affect others. The sheer magnitude of a climate crisis may make my action seem like a drop in the ocean. However, as I take my reusable cup every day, people started to notice, some asked me where to get good reusable cups like mine. And in my class, it started with one cup, then three, then seven. As I eat my one vegan meal a day, my family started to fall into the same habit, not only one person eats vegan, now there are five. What sometimes we do not notice is that a drop in the ocean is set to create a ripple that travels in all direction, spreading, reaching out and growing bigger. So I keep doing what I do, finding solace in the fact that people see my actions and are affected by them and they are moved to do the same. I find hope in the fact that the ripples I created are touching and changing those around me. And I know that their ripples would do the same. This made me realize that one is the start of many, one can reach billions and it takes one person who cares to make a difference.