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Little things mean a lot

It’s one of those dark rainy winter days for which I am profoundly thankful.  With so many areas of the world suffering from drought, we here in south central Pennsylvania are much blessed.  So far, we’ve been spared many of the extremes in rainfall, temperature,  and storms that have been devastating others.  The effects of climate change are downright scary, so I was gratified to recently learn that the ozone hole in the atmosphere is closing as a result of outlawing the use of freon gas and other noxious chemicals.   What we do matters.

Since my early morning walk got rained out, I spent more time with the morning newspaper.  One article discussed the many ways we can each do our part in healing our beautiful planet. It’s so easy to assume the little things you and I can do are irrelevant.  What we forget is my tiny contribution added to yours, and yours and yours add up.   Once again, we come back to” the truism that it takes a village.  Working together.  Joining forces.  Linking our fate to the common good.

As the author of the article noted, we can’t eat sunlight or produce our own oxygen.  We need plants and insects to do that. The domino effect begins each time we lose a single species, be that plant, tree, insect, bird, animal.   Everything is connected.  “We are in the sixth great extinction event,” the author wrote.  “Now one-third of the planet’s bird population is gone.  Overall, one million species may be lost in the next ten years!  Setting aside one-half of the Earth for nature would save at least 80 to 85% of existing species, but that’s not likely to happen.”  He goes on to say that while living with nature is an option, doing so will be a challenge, as it will require changing our mindset.

To achieve a better relationship with Mother Nature, we will need to change several basic assumptions upon which we have built our modern civilization.  1.  Thinking of nature as optional, not essential.   2.  Thinking that humans and nature must be separate and can’t co-exist.  3.  Leaving stewardship of the land to a few professionals, scientists, and big corporations. 4.  Stop making decisions based on short-term needs and profits instead of the long-term.

You and I have more power than we think.  For instance, we can have an influence by:: Choosing native species for our flower beds.  Planting more trees.  Composting our weeds, food wastes, leaves.  Recycling more items.  Mowing fewer areas and planting our lawns and roadsides with wildflowers.  Eating less meat.  Being less passive when trash carriers stop recycling glass and plastic “because there isn’t enough profit in it.”   Paying attention as new scientific information surfaces.  Getting rid of our gas appliances, such as our kitchen stoves and gas logs, as an example, for they are constantly emitting methane into our atmosphere. 

It may be soothing to have someone else to blame for the mess the world is in, but blaming and shaming have never solved anything.  If we want a future for our children and grandchildren, you and I can’t wait for the other guy to go first.  After all, the little things we do actually mean a lot.

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  • Reading this article could be controversial if one is anti science or a non believer in climate change. Perhaps offensive for some in the region? Not sure how touching on our choices and how they impact the environment is any different from talking about useless wildlife killing contests.

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