Doing What You Can: Where You Are Can Change the World

Do you ever have a moment of global realization? It’s that instant when you suddenly realize that you’re living as history is being created, and it occurs to you that all the things happening in the world around you will end up in textbooks someday.

Sometimes these thoughts are fleeting. But more often that not recently, they have a strong pull. Monumental shifts in global society and politics feel commonplace these days, as though we’re living in a narrative of history beyond our control. And honestly, it’s easy to feel frustrated as we balance this tension. There are brilliant moments when we see the beautiful potential of our world and everyone in it, but that hope is rivaled by watching things moving in a direction we wish we could change. It’s easy to feel completely helpless, small, and insignificant.

But every revolution doesn’t have to look like an instant upheaval, and every gesture that makes the world a better place doesn’t have to be grand.

Sometimes the greatest changes come from the small moments: putting pen to paper, a building block, a first step. It’s easy to think that we can only be heard if we’re constantly protesting in the streets, or that we can’t have impact if we’re not in a powerful position to make decisions, but this is simply not true. These things are vital to positive change, but the small things that we do regularly can also be key players in changing the world. There is always something we can be doing, no matter how big or small, because these things add up.

There are so many ways you can get involved in a way that works for you. One of my favorite examples is the women of Threads Worldwide, who make the world a little fairer from within their own homes. I first connected with Threads Worldwide in the early days of writing about conscious consumerism, and we’ve remained firm friends ever since as my little corner of the internet has grown, alongside my own understanding. At a time when I was very much a newbie exploring the world of ethical living, it was encouraging to meet likeminded women who understand how the economy, everyday choices, and the environment are all inherently involved in the global nature of social justice.


Threads Worldwide is a female run company dedicated to empowering women across the world. They partner with female artisans to provide a market for their fair trade, consciously created accessories, as well as help other women harness their power to make a difference through business. These women, no matter who they are, can host showcases to introduce the artisan items to their local communities - building their own businesses, advancing fair trade, and using their skills to empower others.

The women on both ends of this partnership are simultaneously entrepreneurs and social justice advocates, but not in the way one would expect. Both build on their natural strengths; one uses her skills to create something unique and sustainable that she can sell, while the other uses business acumen and communication to bring those products to market fairly. Both play their part by spreading alternatives that empower women, pay workers fairly, and don’t harm the environment. It’s a cyclical relationship, but the common factor is that both women do what they can, with what they have, where they are.

Empowerment, entrepreneurship, and impact look different for everyone, but what connects the three is ownership.

When a woman is empowered she doesn’t feel helpless. Instead, she can confidently seek out solutions by looking at the skills she already has. She can step into entrepreneurship that works for her, impacting both her life and the wider world. With Threads Worldwide entrepreneurship is easy to define, but it doesn’t have to look this way for everyone. It’s simply about starting somewhere. For some women this has looked like using an artistic skill, but for others this has looked like bringing the message of sustainable and ethical living into their own communities, in their own way.

These are their small moments, they will add up to create impact. The longer I continue to try to live and write about a lifestyle that prioritizes sustainability and social justice, the more I find this to be true. I am only able to explore this kind of life through a multitude of small actions that start to add up, which then enable me to make bigger changes as time passes.


I stopped feeling powerless and paralyzed by the problems when I started moving at a pace that was achievable.

There is so much work to be done, we can all see that, but the best way to begin dismantling injustice is taking the first step, no matter how small it may feel. Seek out what makes you feel empowered, see what it leads you to take hold of, and over time impact will unfold. Not all at once, but in the mundane, practical decisions. There is always a bigger goal to head towards, but it doesn’t mean you’re helpless until you reach it.

With each practical step you take to get there, you’re reshaping history by playing your part in the narrative - even if it feels small. Being an entrepreneur means setting out with a plan, so think like one of the Threads Worldwide businesswomen. Map out the practical steps you can undertake, no matter what area you’re tackling, and don’t forget that each one is important.

There will always be global shifts that we can’t control and things in life that we never signed up for. And yet, we can all see what opportunities are around us, what skills we have where we are, and go from there. Yes, there will be inspiring social justice leaders, scientists, and innovators - but if you don’t fit into these categories that’s okay. You can still change the world from your own backyard. All you have to do is decide how you’ll do it.

Photos by: Eun Creative

Francesca Willow

Founder at Ethical Unicorn

Francesca Willow is a London based artist and writer. After training in dance, performance and cultural studies, she tours internationally as a performer, whilst also trying to find the best ways to treat the world with kindness. She is the founder of Ethical Unicorn, where she talks about sustainable living, social justice and style.