To the environmentalist who refuses single-use plastic,
But thinks having steak and wine for dinner is fantastic.
To the vegan who's consuming only plant-based foods,
But doesn't know the pain world hunger population has to fortitude.
To Leonardo Di Caprio donating millions to tackle global warming
But still travels the world in his private jets he will be taking.
To the animal activist that is fighting the good fights,
But isn’t aware of refugees losing their basic human rights.
To the little boy at school who is standing up to bullying,
But isn’t aware of human trafficking
To all the women against sexism and domestic violence
Who are creating many carbon footprints as the consequence.
To the eco-warrior cultivating a zero-waste lifestyle,
But doesn't know the name of the political activists on trial.
To the girl next door who donates her old clothes,
But all the pollution fashion industry makes she doesn’t know.
To the lovely volunteer giving out lunches at an elderly home,
But eats her takeout meal in a box made of styrofoam.
To the scientist making sure poor countries has vaccination,
But doesn't know the detrimental effects of deforestation.
To the peace activist against war, violence and losses,
But doesn’t know about the division that racism causes.
To the doctor saving lives of patients that are in hospitalisation,
But doesn’t pay attention to the children who lack education.
To the billionaire, a thousand dollars to a charity he is giving,
To the men with only a thousand but a hundred he’s donating
To all the haters, the trolls and the bigots out there,
Who don't know the full picture but judge and spread negativity everywhere.
To everyone who is making an effort to make this world a better place,
I’d say thank you, to each your own and march on at your own pace.
We can all be fighting for a different cause and that is okay,
Everyone can be walking on different paths and different ways,
We can all live to be in a different space and a different place,
It’s important we understand that everyone can be a different shade.
What is important to you might not be important to another person.
Just always be yourself and try to be your best version.

The meaning of my poem

We can all champion different causes and navigate diverse paths of meaning. And that’s perfectly okay. Each of us has different needs, goals and personalities. What may be important to you likely differs from what’s important to someone else. And that’s perfectly okay. Rainbows are born in between the light and the rain. Likewise, our collective power emerges from our differences, not simply our similarities.

We do not need to fix every single issue to make a difference. What matters is not how much we do, but how much effort we put into the issues that we care about. We forget that small steps, baby steps even, are how we climb the tallest of mountains. Even though the view at the top is mesmerizing, our growth and sense of value occurs during the climb. So, let’s cast away self-judgment and appreciate where we are, and how much potential we have to keep pushing forwards. Let’s replace judgment towards others with gratitude. Let’s starve division with compassion by showing more support for one another.  

I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I’m not a vegan, and I still haven’t fully adopted a “zero waste” lifestyle despite boosting my recycling efforts. I am not here to tell you to go vegan, or make you pledge to go “zero-waste” overnight. I never want my readers to feel overwhelmed by thinking they have to do too much, too quickly. Interestingly, even if I were “perfect” so to speak, and even if my actions were always aligned with living sustainably, without the help of others, my impact would still be minimal. After all, I’m just one person out of the 7.6 billion that live on Planet Earth. My hope is to spread awareness across a larger community and encourage us to pool our talents together. Our strength lies in numbers: if more of us commit to making small changes in our own unique ways, together we can plant more seeds of change, making our world greener and more bountiful.


Emily Lam-Ho, Founder of 8Shades