I spoke to a woman this week who’d received a letter back from a soldier abroad. It was the first letter back in her 35 years of writing support letters to anonymous soldiers and the letter back was confirmation that these small actions—buy a card, write a letter, carry the stack to the post office—were valuable and touched lives. In our interview, she talked about focusing on “the simple things” when it comes to positive change, not the grand world-changing things.
“I think more people need to do some of the simple things, not looking at the big, huge grand scheme of things,” Jeanne Dennis said. “Just look at the easy things that you can do that don’t cost you a whole pile.”
We forget the little things add up. They add up and they also pay forward—one kind action can inspire others. We don’t necessarily need to be the mover-shaker. Sometimes we can be the supporter of someone doing positive actions. We’ll never see an illustrious award for our noble actions, but our words could come at a make-or-break moment for someone.
The reverse, unfortunately, is also true. In this week’s paper, I spoke to a biologist about a vehicle that went off the road into the Albreda River. At the end of our conversation on the vehicle, I asked him about another topic I’ve been meaning to research—how road salt affects nearby rivers and streams. It’s a topic I plan to research further. In his reply he mentioned a recent article about the effects of trace toxins in vehicle tire rubber and how these can be deadly for fish.
Our individual actions add up.
Even though I am passionate about conservation, I seldom write about it in the paper (or anywhere). It seems too huge, too depressing, too insurmountable. But instead of thinking about how futile it is, maybe I should think about the “simple things” I can do to, not just change my own actions, but also support others. Who’s on the frontlines ensuring we have a living planet? There are many people working on miraculous projects and important research.
I may just drop one a card.