30 things, 30 seconds

Earlier this month, Lorelle put out a challenge to bloggers to list 30 things anyone can do to change the world. The catch? No single action can require more than 30 seconds apiece.

The definition of “change the world” is fungible, of course, but I do believe in starting small and making change on a local level and all that jazz. Call me Pollyanna, but I think the little things really do work.

I thought about this challenge for a couple of days, pondering whether I could come up with a list of 30 garden-related activities that could be done in 30 seconds or less, since I do believe that gardening, particularly vegetable gardening, is a pretty life-changing experience.

However…when I really thought about it, the fact is that I never wanted to spend just 30 seconds out in the garden. Even on mornings when I’d sneak out there before work this summer, my quick trip out there turned into five or ten minutes of inspecting plants, looking at bugs, and reacquainting myself with Every. Single. Tomato.

So my list starts off with a garden-related idea, but meanders off into a whole series of small activities that can become large, if enough of us take part. So, in the spirit of the now-entrenched holiday season, I present to you The Inadvertent Gardener’s 2006 List of 30 Things You Can Do In 30 Seconds To Change The World.

They’re cheaper than a gift exchange, folks. And much more gratifying. Besides, since it’s the 30th of November, it’s all that much more appropriate.

  1. Pull a few weeds from your garden.
  2. Pick up the locally-grown produce at the store rather than vegetables shipped from another country.
  3. Wave at that kid looking out the window of a car next to you on the highway.
  4. Dial the phone number of a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
  5. Close your eyes and take five really deep breaths.
  6. Pet a dog.
  7. Recycle all the junk mail that came in the mail today.
  8. Write a check to your favorite charity.
  9. Vote.
  10. Kiss someone goodbye before you leave the house.
  11. Get in bed…30 minutes earlier than you usually do.
  12. Carry a neighbor’s newspaper up to their porch for them while you’re out for your morning walk or jog.
  13. Stretch something — your legs, your arms, your calf muscles, whatever needs a little extra attention.
  14. Back your car’s speed down to the limit or below.
  15. Chug a glass of water.
  16. If you’re shopping, pull a couple of extra cans of food off the shelf to donate to a food bank. Often, you won’t even have to go to the food bank to donate them — most grocery stores (in the U.S., at least) have carts up front where you can leave your donated items.
  17. Check your calendar for tomorrow so you won’t forget about any necessary appointments.
  18. Learn the name of the barista who makes that latte for you every morning.
  19. Floss.
  20. Turn off the light when you leave a room.
  21. Take a multivitamin.
  22. Clean your bathroom mirror. Smile at yourself.
  23. Pay an honest compliment to a friend or coworker.
  24. Replace a burnt-out lightbulb with a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL).
  25. Buy a CD from a local, independent artist.
  26. Make a microloan to a third-world business through Kiva.org.
  27. Turn your cellphone ringer to silent or vibrate when you’re in public.
  28. Open the dictionary to a random page and memorize the first unfamiliar word you see.
  29. Use the word you just memorized in a contextually appropriate sentence later the same day.
  30. Cut up a credit card (preferably your own).

What are some of your ideas? Feel free to add to this list in the comments area.

14 Responses to “30 things, 30 seconds”

  1. 1 Lydia November 30, 2006 at 6:55 am

    A wonderful list. I’ll add this one: Remember to say “thank you”. Especially to fellow bloggers who provide food for thought.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener November 30, 2006 at 7:13 am

    Thanks, Lydia! I love your addition, too.

  3. 3 Lee November 30, 2006 at 8:47 am

    Make a positive comment about another religion, race or culture – spread good will through thoughtful words – especially to children. Imagine if everyone said something nice about someone who is ‘different’ than they are – for just 30 seconds every day . . .

  4. 4 Lorelle VanFossen November 30, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Fabulous list! Thanks for spreading the world that we CAN change the world in 30 second increments, and the possibilities are endless, as you have so wonderfully shown. Thanks!

  5. 5 Carol November 30, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    This is a wonderful idea! Here a few I thought of:
    1. Bring your empty water bottle or soft drink can home to recycle instead of throwing it away at work.
    2. Call to make an appointment for that physical or whatever you need to do for yourself.
    3. Drop some spare change in the Salvation Army kettle.
    4. Eat a piece of fruit instead of a sugary dessert.
    5. Leave a comment on a blog to tell the author you like what they’ve written!

  6. 6 Colleen December 1, 2006 at 7:27 am

    Great list, Genie! Here are my additions:

    1. Smile at someone you don’t know.
    2. For every negative thought you have about someone/something, make yourself come up with two positive ones.
    3. Hug your kids.

  7. 7 cole December 1, 2006 at 8:25 am

    1. Bring the empty garbage cans back to your neighbors house.
    2. Drive the speed limit and conserve gas
    3. Reuse some of those bags from the groccery store OR use canvas reuseable bag
    4. Offer to watch your neighbors or friends kids while the mom/dad go do something fun
    5. Start a compost pile of your food scraps (it will cut down on your garbage output tremendously)

    Love this post!

    Little shout out to Heifer International for a real worthy cause….buy a flock of chickens or a goat or an Ark for a family in need.


  8. 8 inadvertentgardener December 1, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Lee, Carol, Colleen and Cole, I love all of your additions! There are some terrific ideas here for ways to quickly make a positive change. Thanks for visiting, and for sharing them.

    Lorelle, I appreciate your stopping by! I really enjoy your blogging challenges, even if I don’t always participate in all of them, but this particular challenge was really meaningful. Thanks for organizing it.

  9. 9 lucette December 1, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    These are great–I’ll have to think of some of my own.
    A quick couple:
    1. put change in the Salvation Army kettle.
    2. call up an elderly relative and ask him/her out to lunch

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener December 2, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Lucette, your ideas are great, too. Thanks for adding them to the list!

  11. 11 erin December 4, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    this list made my day. I will definitely be making my own between now and xmas–good food for thought for a time of year that has become hyper-commercialized.

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener December 4, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Erin, glad you’re making a list, too — be sure to come back and let me know when yours is posted!

  13. 13 GBTtown December 6, 2006 at 10:35 am

    Wave and say, “Hello” or “Seasons Greetings” to a neighbor.

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener December 7, 2006 at 7:22 am

    GBTtown, that’s a wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by!

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