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I can't change anything alone argument

I alone can't change anything anyway! Is that a sensible argument for not living sustainably?

Again and again one hears in discussions about Veganism, Zero Waste or a basically sustainable life the argument "I alone can't change anything anyway". This sentence is anything but a logical argument. Rather, it is a quick excuse to shift responsibility from oneself to others.

In this article, I'd like to briefly and succinctly explain to you why it crosses many people's lips - and why truly each and every one of us can make a difference.

Why do people say "the individual cannot change anything"?

First of all, we should find out the reasons for this quickly said and almost reflexive argument. Each of us is only a very tiny part of all life on this planet. For many, therefore, one appears to be so insignificant as an individual that one has to believe in the biggest Environmental problems of our time can't change anything anyway. With this thought in mind, the abundance of challenges then causes you to freeze in a pillar of salt. Perfection and one's own comfort also play a decisive role in not wanting to question oneself. And the last shred of residual motivation is then blown away by the lack of awareness of the power of group dynamics.

We hold: People are thus mainly tempted to make excuses like "the individual can't change anything anyway", because...

  • It is assumed that as an individual you cannot prevail against 8 billion people. (Weakness)
  • they think you have to do everything perfectly (Perfection)
  • our society faces not one, but dozens of challenges (powerlessness, excessive demand)
  • many of them think that they would really be alone with their project (lack of groupthink)
  • they then do not have to reconsider their own behavior and so there is no need to act (convenience)

Can you think of any other reasons not to believe that individuals can make a difference? Then feel free to write me a comment with your reference.

Why "I alone can't change anything anyway!" is only a weak excuse

The individual can not change anything argument

The phrase "the individual cannot change anything" builds an imaginary protective wall against the fear of change and effort - and shifts responsibility onto others. What would happen if everyone thought that way? Then everything on our earth would remain the same! And as Albert Einstein once said: "The purest form of insanity is to keep everything the same and hope that something will change." Therefore, every person should assume that they can change something.

Now here I would like to say a few words about the supposed reasons for many people's lack of faith in positive change.

No one is too "small" to make a difference

You may be just one of nearly 8 billion people. But if you lead by exampleIf you do this, you will also positively change the attitude of others, who will once again pass on their optimistic attitude.

Nothing has to be perfect

Sustainable living is a conscious, life-long attitude and a constant learning process. No one has to implement everything perfectly - it is enough when many people, do many small things imperfectly. Because you as an individual can bring about positive change even with small, good deeds. Especially if you constantly exemplify them.

Whoever creates problems can also solve them

World hunger, climate change, Plastic waste in the environment, Deforestation of the rainforests - yes, we are facing a big mountain of problems. But they are only created by human action. That's why they can only be solved through human action. Each and every one of us is either part of the problem - or part of the solution. The decision is entirely up to you.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - this quote from Mahatma Gandhi is just too fitting at this point. More Positive Thinking Quotes can be found in the linked collection of sayings.

Those who want to make a positive difference are never alone

The people who believe they can change something will also be successful and carry others along. "Alone" you are at most in the short moment of the decision to change something in your life to eliminate a grievance of any kind. But if it is a problem that affects not only you, but also many other people, you will not remain alone and start a ball rolling. You just have to be convinced that you, as an individual, can make a difference.

The Veganism or the Zero Waste Lifestyle are prime examples of this. Today, these movements have many followers - but they too had their origins at some point in the thoughts and attitudes of individuals.

Tip: Have you ever thought about using a Start online petition? Through these digital signature collections, many grievances in our society have already been eliminated!

Convenience creates and amplifies problems instead of solving them

Already Socrates said "Focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on creating the new.". But Change is difficult for most people. It's easier to simply reject the new and trumpet phrases like "I alone can't change anything. But in fact, even a small look beyond the end of one's nose is enough to bring about something positive.

You act for example the cruelty to animals in the Factory farming by reaching for oat milk just a few inches away on the supermarket shelf instead of your usual preference for cow's milk. That's not really exhausting, is it? We don't all have to become Gandhis, Einsteins and Mandelas - because every good deed, no matter how small, changes something in the world for the better.

Tip: Do you already know the App Replace Plastic? In a matter of seconds, you use it to scan the barcode of products that you would like to see without plastic. The manufacturer then gets a hint. Every single user contributes in total to the fact that already countless Products redesigned and today manage without plastic.

Every individual can make a difference!

the individual can change nothing argument

"I alone can't change anything" - when I hear this sentence, I get goose bumps. Because it says so much about a person. Weakness, powerlessness, comfort, ignorance... but at the same time it also reveals the opportunities and potential of the people who hear it. Because every rethinking starts with a thought-provoking impulse - it just needs someone to give it.

We can't think negatively and expect positivity - with the following posts you can change something in your life for the better right now:

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Think positively and be an equally positive role model for others - you will see how your life will change.

Do you still have questions? Or do you still believe that you can't change anything on your own? Then feel free to write me a comment under this article.

Stay optimistic and sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: By the way, I wrote this article alone. Every day I reach hundreds of people with it, who are then convinced that even as an individual they can change something. And so every rain begins with a drop.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!


Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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