Humans are an integral part of the web of life on earth. We have a great impact on and responsibility for the future of all forms of life here. I was planning on this last blog of the year to be about human’s deleterious effect on the rest of the natural world. I would share a photo I took of a duck with a 6 pack ring caught in its bill and around its neck. I would list numerous nasty things that animals and their habitats have suffered because of us. And then I would throw in some words about global warming and our impending doom. But, I froze like a deer in the headlights. I don’t really want to talk about gloom and doom. Plenty of other people are already doing this (Greta Thunburg we are listening!).
“We should change the narrative from one of fear and despair. Despite the bad (climate) news, people are still very optimistic. Optimism in this case is essential, because hope beats fear every time.”- Hillary Tam, Strategy director of global change agency Futerra” (news.globallandscapesforum.org)
To follow the lead of Mr. Rogers, I want to look for the helpers. There are plenty of helpers out helping to make our world cleaner and safer for humans and other life forms. There are national organizations that have local chapters like the Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, etc. They can help people find a way to help locally and beyond. Individuals can help clean up a river, plant native trees, take samples from local waterways to monitor pollutants, survey area plants or fauna, remove invasive plant species, etc. If a person can’t physically get out there and do boots on the ground chores, most of these helper groups need office help and money. There are so many organizations that are helping and it can be overwhelming to choose which one to get involved with.
If you like to write, write articles or write your congressperson. If you are tech savvy, help design a new website or media campaign. Start a carpool at your workplace or school or church. If you are good at speaking before groups you can help spread the word this way. One thing I do is help with a local fauna survey. I go out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center and join others in finding and recording every living thing that is not a plant. I cannot identify all the birds and insects I find, but I can help find them. And this is fun. We chat and laugh a lot as we work and learn. I encourage everyone to find a way to help our planet. I especially encourage you to find a way to do this that is fun for you.
I leave you with a quote from Dr. Jane Goodall:
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”