One Person Acted is a book, a Facebook community, and a company, but more than anything it is a perspective and a worldview, naming and highlighting the critically important obligation for every individual to personally take action in order to bring about a better world that works for everyone.
This need for each of us to take 100% responsibility for our own lives, for the protection of all people, and for the protection of our non-human friends and the planet itself has sharpened this week, having come into stark relief against the awareness that when we don’t take this responsibility seriously, negative consequences can and do arrive. We should not be surprised. Rather, we should use it to waken us, whether from our apathy or our fear, that has deadened our resolve and kept us from working to create something better.
This election was not simply the result of two unpopular candidates fighting for our lackluster attention. It was a message to all of us that we have dropped the ball, that we haven’t shown up, that we have left the heaving lifting—actually all the lifting—for someone else to do. Now many of us don’t like what others came up with, and we are grieving at the prospects of a darker world emerging. Whether it does or not is up to us. Just like everything else. I take power and solace from that knowledge.
I distinctly remember a comment I heard my mother make when I was a four-year old child to the gas station attendant pumping our gas and washing our windows. I don’t know what his comment was, but her reply was, “Well, that’s what they say.” I remember asking her, repeatedly, “Who is they?” I wouldn’t let it go. She didn’t have a good answer, just a vague shrug that has confounded me to this day. Now I know why. There is no “they.” There is only “us.”
Regardless of how you voted in the US election last week, that vote represents one tiny fraction of the work we are each responsible for. Just as recycling your paper and jars represents one tiny fraction, if that, of what’s needed to protect natural resources. Just as buying a car with higher gas mileage represents a tiny fraction, if that, of what’s needed to stop global warming. Just as NOT voting for Trump represents a negligible effort towards treating all people with dignity.
As individuals and as a country, we do almost nothing to change the most serious problems that, in truth, need our combined greatest minds and combined strongest efforts to correct. We can’t leave it to the leaders, to activists, to those who really care, to those who make the effort. We are each responsible for the good and the bad that is happening in this country and in this world because our inaction has outcomes, too.
For many years we were silent because we were unaware of the reality of all that is happening in this world. We were weak because we were disconnected from others. Technology has changed all of that. Now we know better, or we have the ability to know better. Those we have always given carte blanche power to manage things have not, with notable exceptions, always been looking out for the good of the people or the good of the planet. In the past we accepted our roles and were grateful someone else was “taking care of things.” Now, we realize, we must accept the responsibility for our own lives, for the lives of the vulnerable, and for the health and future of the planet. That responsibility means each person taking action.
One Person Acted and Everything Changed. What will you do? And what will you do after that? And after that? #dosomething #onepersonacted