Think Globally, Act Locally

Think Globally, Act Locally

More than 30 years ago, I took a tour of the Boston Globe as part of my high school graphic arts class. During the tour, they showed us the printing presses that were idle and hadn’t been cleaned yet after the prior night’s run. I asked what happened to all the paper still in the presses. I was told that they just threw away all the paper. Looking back on this answer, I believe it may have been incorrect, but it started me thinking about how much we waste (paper in particular). I decided to start a paper recycling program as my Eagle Scout project at my high school as a way to help reduce waste.

I became very involved in recycling efforts and joined my town’s recycling committee. My interest in recycling was probably the start of me thinking about the slogan "think globally, act locally". This slogan, of course, wasn’t new at the time, but was very on point as my recycling program wasn’t going to change the world, but it was a small part that I could to do help and if there were other like minded people, we collectively could do great things.

Recycling of paper products is now common place and people don’t think about it much. While I definitely didn’t make this happen globally, I’d like to think that I helped educate thousands of people through my efforts.

In my adult life, I’ve tried to keep following the act locally mantra by volunteering and by donating money. I know I’m not going to change the lives of millions of people and my name probably won’t be known by many people, but that doesn’t matter as long as I can make an impact on a few.

Now more than ever, I think the "think globally, act locally" slogan is important. While we as individuals can’t make COVID-19 go away, small acts such as wearing masks, staying home, and physically distancing can make a huge difference if we all followed the guidelines. When safe vaccines become available, getting one is another way to make a difference. It isn’t necessarily about protecting you from COVID-19, but also about protecting others. There are certain people that can’t get vaccines and we, as a society, need to do our best to protect them.

Some of the guidelines that we’re being asked to follow may be inconvenient, but we’re all in this together. I don’t think there are any excuses to not following the guidelines; some people are selfish and believe it is all about them and other people are not science literate to understand why we have been asked to do certain things. I am fortunate that I can financially ride this out; if everyone had followed the guidelines 6-9 months ago, we may not be where we are today with the increasing numbers and with so many people hit financially.

I urge people to do their part now and when we get through this pandemic about acting locally so that we can all help make the world a better place.

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