Changing the World One Small Action at a Time

(Family Crossings) – You can change the world. That’s what the people behind the movement “We Are What We Do” believe. People like you taking small actions that add up to big change.

It started with the question, “What would you ask one million people to do to change the world?” Thousands of ideas from around the world came in. The ideas weren’t sweeping policy changes – they were small and unexpected everyday actions that anyone can do:

  • Keep a promise.
  • Read a story to a child.
  • Learn something new.
  • Run an errand for an elderly neighbor or single parent.

Fifty of the best suggestions were published in the book “Change the World for Ten Bucks” (Chronicle Books 2009). This little book has had a big impact, selling over 1,000,000 copies in the U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, and now this will be the first time it’s available in the U.S.

“Because it’s not just politicians and business leaders who change the world,” says the book’s editor Eugenie Harvey. “Each of us, through the hundreds of tiny actions we take every day, shapes the world we live in.” In other words, small actions x lots of people = big change. “This project carries a much-needed message of hope for people everywhere,” says Harvey. “Love yourself, cherish life, protect our future.”

It’s not simply about being green, Harvey says. “We are about bringing the kinds of lasting change which will positively affect our environment, our local, national and international communities and ourselves.” For example, the book includes a postcard to send to someone who inspires you (Action 35), two pages stuck together as a reminder not to throw gum in the street (Action 24), tear-out tabs to make introductions to the neighbors (Action 45), and dozens of other creative prompts for positive change.

Connecting Online

In addition to taking the actions in the book, people can visit to inspire and track their progress. On the site you can:

  • Submit your own ideas for change.
  • Update your Connect with Facebook with an application that lets you view all 50 actions from the book and update your newsfeed with the ones you complete.
  • Buy another copy of the book to give to a friend (Action 47).

The site also provides a unique way to connect people to finding volunteer work in their communities, via Enter your zip code, select an area of interest – everything from animals and arts to justice and seniors – and you’ll get a list of local organizations that will welcome your time and efforts.

To find out more about how you really can change the world, visit

Action 02 – Spend time with someone of a different generation.

Action 43 – Be resourceful.

Action 30 – Bake something for a friend

Next time you need to buy a friend a present, don’t. Make them one instead.

Gingerbread Men

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg and syrup.
  4. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Chill the dough before rolling onto a lightly floured board, to a 1/8 inch thickness.
  6. Cut into shapes, using a gingerbread cutter.
  7. Bake on a lightly greased tray for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Give away immediately. 
From “Change the World for Ten Bucks,” Chronicle Books 2009

“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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