"actions of one individual at a specific time can make a huge difference. People need to see you, even if you’re just one person speaking out. It is so important to say what you know is true, and it’s especially important to say it to people in power."
"I found strength in that moment, and really it was Nixon who had given it to me, ranting on before presenting the medal about how I wasn’t one of those hippie protestors out in the streets. He said I was one of the “good” students, although he didn’t know a thing about me, as in this case the Justice Department’s vetting failed terribly. I had been at many protests against the U.S. war on Vietnam."
~ Debra Sweet, Humanist Heroine
So many times I see evidence of individual action making a real difference in the world. Challenges facing us now offer opportunities for all kinds of individual and collective action to bring about level playing fields and equal access to opportunity.
This reminds me of another guy, who also had a great impact ... perhaps the greatest impact.
Thomas Midgley, Jr. (May 18, 1889 – November 2, 1944) was an American mechanical engineer and chemist. Midgley was a key figure in a team of chemists, led by Charles F. Kettering, that developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline as well as some of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Over the course of his career, Midgley was granted over a hundred patents. While he was lauded for his scientific contributions during his lifetime, the negative environmental impacts of some of Midgley's innovations have considerably tarnished his legacy. Environmental historian J.R. McNeil says that Midgley had a greater impact on the environment than any other single organism in world history.(emphasis mine) Bill Bryson in his book, 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything', has expressed a similar opinion.
Midgley must have known his deep inhaling of TEL was dangerous, and all those dead people in and near their operations took a terribly long time to discover the cause. Midgley "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history." Too bad he didn't live long enough to see the real impact he had on people and planet.
I think the name of George Washington Carver, in a positive sense, can also be mentioned in this context.