I firmly believe that we all can help with the minimum effort. We are all different, we all can do things with ease and others with a lot of effort.
As a society, we can dramatically improve our global behaviour if we strive to leave a positive print on the planet… utopia? Maybe.
But it is not utopic to ask people to do simple things, simple tasks that they can do effortlessly, and introduce them into their daily, weekly, or monthly routines, into their quotidian.
It may be different for wach person, it may have a different impact for each action, but we are all different and the one think we don’t need is to draw comparisons between what each of us is doing.
We just have to do what we naturally and easily can, in that “think global, act local” way.
Here go three examples of things I do which cost me nothing, which give me pleasure and all of which I can easily add into my quotidian actions:
Pick up a piece of trash from the ground (every day)
The “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto should always be present in our minds, when we have the option of accepting a paper/plastic bag after buying a magazine, when we print out emails at work for a later read, when we contantly buy bottled beverages instead of using/washing other type of recepients.
So, every day, I am incorporating the habit of picking up and disposing something from the sidewalk, either a plastic bag/bottle, or something else that probably won’t be collected by the local sanitation services.
More often than not, I have to carry it for a few metres until I find a proper trash can or recycling container (this also helps me visualising where they are located) and the cost of this action is, quite obviously, zero.
Living/working in a city such as Lisbon, I can only imagine if a fraction of its population would do a similar thing. That would be something to watch.
Give free classes to children/teens (every week)
After some 15 years teaching Catholic School (we call it Cathequesis) on weekends, I am now part of a small team that teaches Computer Science and Electronics (for free) at public and private schools.
The Cromitos – which translates to “little geeks” – is a Portuguese initiative which focuses on teaching youngsters how to code, how to rationalise problems, how to understand physical concepts, by using simple (and mostly free) online tools.
These are some of the subjects of the STEAM framework which should be understood as “Science & Technology, interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements“; cost of teaching what I know: zero again.
And, as a big plus, the opportunity of interacting with youngsters who naturally and spontaneously give back some of their uncompromised freshness while having a true open mind to our interaction, something that I find quite rejuvenating.
Donating blood (every three months)
Fortunately enough, I am an healthy person, and I am able to donate blood on a regular basis which, for a male, means 4 times a year.
Making it a habit was no problem and I have – as of 2017 – been there on the strecher for some 40 times now. It does seem a lot, to give 20 litres of blood, but the main feeling is being blessed for being healthy and having zero problems/issues with needles.
Few things can be more rewarding than the perspective of giving something as important as blood to someone I don’t know, someone I won’t ever know; the absolute gratuity of it is too big to pass on it, and I cannot thank my friends Miguel and Pedro for adding this habit to my life, sometime in 2004. Wow, has it been that long?
Conclusion: there is no reason for each of us to not give back, because in our diversity, we have the ability of offering a simple solution to another person’s problem.
And, for each person, in different situations and contexts, that solution comes at zero cost.