Submission: Big World, Little You

The news is full of tales of environmental woes. You hear of global warming, vanishing open spaces, and polluted waterways. Our natural environment is under threat and you want to help. Yet, the world is a big place with big problems and you are small indeed. Besides, is it not dear Mother Earth who sustains you? How does a baby protect its mother? What can one person do in the face of a task so immense?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the week of Sept. 19 – 26 is “Pollution Prevention Week.” Pollution is a threat to healthy humans, healthy flora and healthy fauna. We certainly do not need the EPA to know that pollution is to the environment what cigarettes are to lungs. However the EPA website is a resource with plenty of useful tips for pollution prevention. It offers advice on ecologically sound transportation solutions, energy reduction, food shopping, waste disposal, landscaping, and more.

For example, if every American were to spend approximately $3 more per year on one necessity, they would help eliminate the same amount of greenhouse gasses as are produced by 800,000 cars. According to the EPA website, this simple, affordable act is the purchase of one “Energy Star” lightbulb. The site explains that if each household in the United States “replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that’s earned the Energy Star, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.”

Of course, not all that the EPA advises is new or necessarily practical. For example, not everyone can afford a hybrid vehicle. Nor does everyone live close enough to school or work to commute by foot or bicycle. Not everyone lives on a bus route. Many people can barely afford to put ramen on their table much less expensive organic foods. Not everyone wants to spend their weekends properly sorting through their refuse to make sure that the recycling is “just so.” It’s the weekend. You‘ve worked hard and you want to relax. So, apart from this annual light bulb purchase, what can one little person do for his embattled and neglected mother?

Try this. Go ahead, rest and spend some time with her. Head to Frye Cove Park and walk through the woods. Listen to the wind strum the leaves like harp strings. Rest in the beauty, the wisdom, and the design of it all. By doing so you just might earn and learn a greater desire to protect this incredible world. It might even become your passion, and then you will decide what one little person can and will do.

Submitted by James Finn