How can you change
We Are What We Do is a new kind of movement inspiring people to
change the world one small action at a time.
Our philosophy is simple:
small actions x lots of people = big change
We have the 130 small things that you can do to change really big
things. Pick an action, track it here, and see how it all adds up.
Actions to change the world
Here's our list of simple, everyday actions you can do to help
change the world (and have fun while you're doing it). It could be
doing something for the community like shopping locally, something
for the environment like avoiding plastic bags, or something for you,
like learning to paint, sing or speak Spanish...
These simple actions come from 'Change the World for a Fiver' and 'Change
the World 9 to 5'
Click to see the list by book.So how does this work? Click on an
action to see what it's all about or, if you 're ready to do the do,
tick each action you have completed and press the "Done!" button
down below. Your actions will be added to the total, there on the
top-right. Just like that.
1) Decline plastic bags wherever possible.
Every person in the UK uses up to 167 plastic bags every year.
That's 10 billion bags all together. All sitting in huge land fill
sites producing tons of methane gas. And methane gas contributes to
global warming. All this from a humble shopping bag. And if you
consider a plastic bag can take up to 500 years to decay you realise
that; 'Houston, we've got a problem.'
So, where to start in helping to reduce our growing bag mountain?
Well, there is an alternative. It's called a shopping bag and
apparently in France, it's very chic. Failing that, start by just
using fewer bags at the check out, or better still, take old bags
with you to the shops when you can.
Maybe we can influence supermarkets to supply biodegradable bags.
When they smile sweetly in a helpful manner and offer you a bag just
remind them politely they're not, in fact, being very helpful.
One thing is certain, with very little effort we can all use fewer
than 167 bags a year.
2) Read a story with a child
When kids ask you to read a story to them it's because they know
something you don't. They know you'll both feel richer for the
experience (they know they'll get an extra half hour before bed as
Remember how much you enjoyed the experience as a kid - how your
imagination was captivated. Well now it's your turn to pass on that
feeling and experience how rewarding storytelling really is. And not
having kids is no excuse. Read to a nephew or niece, a godchild or
friend's child. Local schools and libraries are often crying out for
people to read to pupils. Reading and listening to books actually
rewires a child's brain, speeds up their grasp of language, helps
reduce stress and boosts self esteem. So how terrible that 60% of
children go to bed without a story.
Can't find a book they like or aren't bored with, by the fifteenth
visit? Make up your own stories. You might be quite good at it.
3) Fit at least one energy-saving light bulb
They're not cheap, these energy saving light bulbs, but over their
lifetime they'll save you 65 quid and a lot more besides.
And we're not just talking about the pain of getting the wobbly step
ladder out from under the stairs but the environmental saving this
small action can make.
Most of us use light bulbs designed about 100 years ago,
inefficiently producing nearly as much heat as light. And it doesn't
end there, along with heat they produce carbon dioxide the nasty
little gas that helps cause global warming.
In fact if every British household fitted just three bulbs enough
energy would be saved to supply the entire country's urban lighting.
(who does work this stuff out?). So lower bills over a year and a
cleaner planet... err, why wouldn't you adopt this action?
4) Learn basic first aid
It takes fifty hours to learn to drive but only two to learn how to
save a life. What else are you going to do in that time that is
going to make such a difference?
Watch 'stars in their eyes' twice over?
It can take just four minutes for someone with a blocked airway to
die, but eight minutes for an ambulance crew to arrive. Your two
hour training would show you how to save that life immediately. The
idea of saving someone's life is cool. In fact, it's about as cool
as you can possibly get, especially when you realise that
statistically the person you help is unlikely to be a stranger.
They're more likely to be a friend or relative.
Imagine saving your best friend's life.
Imagine giving up two hours of your incredibly busy schedule
juggling the school run, food for the weekend and sending emails,
with something really important.
Both St. John Ambulance and the Red Cross have essential skill
courses find out more at
5) Smile and smile back
Are you a smiler? Chances are you could make a bit more effort. And
help influence others too. We all know the Mr Misery in the office
or Ms Glum at the petrol station. Get them to smile more. It takes
up half as many muscles as it does to frown and it makes you and
others feel twice as good.
Smiling also makes you appear approachable and more attractive. It
says: 'I like you, you make me happy, I am pleased to see you.'
People can even tell when you are smiling from the intonation of
your voice. So smile when you're on the phone. Start the day with a
smile. Stick a reminder on your bathroom mirror.
You actually can't smile too much, although American synchronised
swimmers accepting Gold medals come pretty close.
6) Take public transport when you can
Is this a joke? Public transport sucks. I'm a free man and I have a
car. I love my car and I'm going to use it.
This action tends to bring out extreme reactions. We love cars too,
especially those new Smart convertibles. It's just a question of
balance. How many car journeys are really necessary?
When was the last time you sat on a bus? It really can be quite fun,
especially on the top deck with kids.
Consider this: A double-decker bus carries the same number of people
as 40 cars. And it's going there anyway. Buses are seven times safer
than cars and obviously more environmentally friendly. Imagine if
everyone with a car took just one bus journey a week how much our
carbon emissions would be reduced. And if you are driving to work or
school, share the journey with a friend. You can find out more at
So, don't feel too guilty about driving your new two ton diesel
guzzler, just give it a rest occasionally
Check out a short film about this action produced by BBC Broadcast
Broadband users only Click here to view (Windows Media Player needed)
Lots of people
7) Plant a tree
Trees are amazing things. They take in stuff we don't like (carbon
dioxide) and pump out stuff we do (oxygen). And yet we get rid of
these amazing things every year. In fact, 33 soccer pitches of trees
are cut down every minute worldwide. You can do something to help.
And you don't need to be able to tell your Dimmocks from your
Titchmarsh to do it.
Plant a tree. Each one you plant will provide oxygen for two people
for the rest of their lives.
'The planting of a tree is a gift you can make at almost no cost and
trouble and it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your
other actions, good or evil.' So said Mr.1984, George Orwell.
So where to start? You can visit www.woodland-trust.org.uk or
www.treesforlife.org.uk or why not get hold of some Scots pine seeds
and grow your own Christmas tree? You can gather round on Christmas
morning and say - 'That's it. That's my Christmas present to all of
you for the next 100 years
8) Have a bath with someone you love Save water and have fun.
A bath full of hot bubbly water is too good not to share. And when
you consider an average bath uses 65 litres of water you'll not only
feel good in the bath but feel good afterwards too.
Just get out before everything becomes too wrinkly and make sure you
don't get the taps end.
9) If it says 30mph, do 30mph
We know you've heard it all before. Slow down. Kill your speed. We
know it makes sense and yet we all speed occasionally. It seems no
matter how many times we are told, or no matter how many cameras
there are, we still do it.
Well here's a fact that you'll remember:
At 35 mph you are TWICE as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30
mph. So by sticking to the speed limit you can greatly reduce your
chance of being involved in one of the 3400 fatal accidents in the
UK each year.
Pass it on.
10) Turn your thermostat down by 1º
This is a 'no brainer'.
Want to save money? Want to use less energy as a household? Turning
your thermostat down by just one tiny degree will hardly make any
difference. Just an average £25 a year or 10% of your heating bill,
Why stop there? You may want to make your home more energy efficient
or invest in solar power?