Teen Breathe

How to change the world a little at a time

If you think that only politicians can change the world, then think again! You don’t need to make new laws to affect others. Here are our top ten tips for making a little go a long way.

We can have a great impact on the world around us, from helping the environment to aiding others. We don’t necessarily need to do much; little things are more than nothing at all! Remember that if we all make a small change, together we end up making a HUGE difference.

Not sure what to do? Don’t worry, we have some suggestions to get you started…

1. Make someone smile

Smiles are powerful things! Smiling at others is the simplest thing to do and there’s something magical about it: if you smile, people tend to smile back at you! It is contagious and it lifts your mood as well as theirs. So go on, don’t forget to smile 🙂

2. Grow your own food

As the song goes: All you need is love… and a few seeds in a pot of soil! Just leave it on a sunny windowsill, water it regularly and tada! You’ll see, your pizza will never taste as nice as when you’ve made it with home-grown veggies and herbs. You’ll also use less packaging, which helps reduce pollution.

3. Recycle…

While you will always end up with more plastic and glass from the shops, recycling them after use will help the environment. You could also go through your bedroom and donate anything old or unused with a bit of a life left in them to a friend or a charity shop so somebody else can enjoy them as much as you did.

4. …or upcycle!

Give a second life to your old stuff and make it beautiful again – but with a new purpose. An old pair of jeans can be turned into a ‘new’ pair of shorts or you could reuse your old Scrabble letters for a funky piece of art. There is no limit to your creativity and it can become a way to express your individuality.

5. Stand up for something

Speak up for what you believe in! If you really care about something, then start talking about it. You’re never too young to start taking an interest in the bigger issues. From signing a petition, to writing for the school newspaper, to volunteering in your community, you can help defend and publicise a value that you strongly feel about. Spread the word and get others involved by hosting fundraising events.

6. Don’t waste energy

The list is long: switch things off when you leave a room, don’t charge your phone overnight, use energy-saving light bulbs, etc. And if you feel a bit chilly, don’t turn up the heating, simply put a jumper on. Not only does it conserve energy, but it saves money on the bills, too.

7. Be kind

Saying “please” and “thank you” or paying someone a compliment are little acts of kindness that make people happy. It costs you nothing, but can really positively affect others. And more positive emotions means more happiness.

8. Bee friendly

It’s time the world got over bees’ bad rep and starting given them a little TLC. We do need them after all! Bees fertilise plants by transferring pollen and seeds from one flower to another, and in the process, make the plant grow and produce food. A fun way to help is the plant some flowers bees love such as sunflowers, coneflowers or black-eyed Susans.

9. Make your wish come true…

If you really, really, really want something, then stop dreaming about it and instead work out a plan to make it happen. Be bold and show the world – and yourself – what you can do. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve.

10… But learn to be grateful!

Human nature always leaves us wanting move. By focusing too much on what we want, we risk forgetting about the things we already have. Remind yourself every so often how lucky you are to have what you have and remember to say thank you to those around you more often.

  • Words: Anne Guillot
  • Illustration: Laura Backeberg
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