"It's a small world".

We often say this when we bump into someone in a place where you'd never imagine or are surprised to discover an unlikely mutual friendship.   It's such a light phrase. One that we often say when making small talk.

Is it a small world, though? Or is it just a coincidence or common ground? That acquaintance from your fitness class who you meet at the same holiday resort, who also shops at the same supermarket as you and has children in the same school.  Small world? Or is it just that you have so much in common, it's no wonder you end up spending your downtime doing the same thing?

Back to Basics

Take a moment to think about how we communicate now in comparison to 35 years ago. Our phones are permanently located in our hands! I remember sitting freezing in the hallway, with the draft from the front door on my legs, talking to my friends on a curly wired telephone. Not being able to sit down without a stretch.

A computer is now in our hands. Previously the only computer I had access to was at school or in a library, and I couldn't freely search for what I wanted to. My pen pal from America was just that, and I'd rush home from school every day just in case a lovely airmail stamped letter had lightly dropped through the letterbox. Now, I can message that same pen pal via Facebook and WhatsApp and see precisely when she received my message and when she's read it! Thus, making this world feel smaller and smaller still.

With the simple click of a button, we have everything we could ever wish for at our fingertips. We can feel totally in touch with what is happening all over the world and the challenges we are all facing when it comes to our ever-changing planet. It's all there for us to see - if we go looking of course.

Social Influences

Via social media, we are constantly exposed to targeted and 'sponsored' posts. We can freely access a massive range of wonderfully creative TV and films, which keep us informed of current world affairs. 

But, faced with the ugly truth of what is happening all over the world, we can simply drop the phone or close the laptop. Feeling geographically too far away to help. Suddenly, the world is a much bigger place. Far too big for little old me to make a difference…

The thing is you can make a difference, we all can. Small changes can make a huge difference; small efforts can make a huge change. No matter who you are, where you live, and what skills you do or don't feel you have.

This wonderful world we are so privileged to share with so many amazing creatures and habitats can be saved. We are incredibly lucky to have wonderful people who have taken it upon themselves to dedicate their lives to make a change. We are so fortunate that we can support them in the hard work that they invest so much time, effort and love into.

I always thought that fundraising and supporting a charity was all about how much money I could raise. Or finding a really strenuous physical activity so that people would sponsor me. This, I think, is a common misconception about how charities value their supporters.  Don't get me wrong, there are lovely and powerful ways of drumming up lots of support and raising lots of money. But don't let these wonderfully big gestures put you off trying to help in any way you feel you can.

How You Can Make a Difference

Speaking as a volunteer myself, if you would like to help Veterans for Wildlife to empower veterans and prevent wildlife crime, I would recommend you learn about their values and their incredible plans for the future.

Learn how nature and people alike are benefiting from their projects. This gives you the power to share their work with gusto and passion, just like those guys and girls who are deployed out there in Africa.

Educate children or encourage your children to participate in events tailored for their young, hungry minds. Dermot, a fellow volunteer, has created a school's programme where he shares his experiences of being in Africa to promote and educate the next generation on conservation matters. Educated supporters are really successful even when they are not actively raising money.

However, the feeling of raising money (no matter the value) for a good cause has also made a change in my household. My children, who are 6 and 4, took part in a short walk for the charity. This not only spiked my daughter's self-confidence, but it also raised money. Equally as important, social media posts about the event helped to attract more supporters for the charity and awareness of the cause.

This brings us back to the idea of a 'small world', a small world, with so much opportunity and promise to make a positive change. Know that you can do that, you can help this fantastic charity or any other charity you wish. Plan that short walk, bake those cakes, teach the children, share a tweet, run a mile (or run 2!), make a donation, sign a petition, recycle that plastic, take 10 minutes to read an article, become a member! Know that no matter what you do for this charity they appreciate and see it all and this ultimately reinforces the good that they are so proudly are working towards.