Feeling Inspired

Over the last few days, I have felt inspired whilst reading a book titled “Suzuki’s Green Guide – How to find fresher, tastier, healthier food. Create and Eco-Friendly Home. Make sustainable Transportation Choices. Reduce Consumption and be a Green Citizen” by David Suzuki and David R. Boyd with additional text for Australian edition by Michael Mobbs of www.sustainablehouse.com.au fame.

Reading it on the train each morning and evening travelling to and from work, it has lifted my spirits to a higher level and made me feel like the volunteer environmental work I do all that more worthwhile.  What I liked so much about the book is that it gives you the facts, gives you solutions and then has a real life inspiring story about each topic.  Well worth a read if you can get a copy of it from the local library. 

There is a little story near the back that moved me to tears this afternoon (on the train) and filled me with joy. It is all over the internet, and believe that it is a paraphrase of an essay called The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (which is quite depressing).  You have probably heard it before, and I read that U.S. President Obama recently used a version during on of his orations.  I prefer this version;

There’s a story about an old man who use to love walking near the ocean.  He’d walk along the beach every morning.  One day he saw a person moving like a dancer, bending, then wading into the waves with arms extended.  It pleased him that someone would dance to the beauty of the day and the rhythm of the waves.  As he got closer, he saw that it was a young girl.  The girl was not dancing, but was reaching down to the sand, picking something up, and carrying it carefully out into the ocean.
He called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The little girl replied, “I’m returning starfish to the ocean.”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t rescue them, they’ll be stranded on the beach and die.”
“But there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along the way.  What difference could you possibly make?”
The little girl did not answer right away.  She bent down, picked up another starfish, and gently placed it back into the sea.  She watched a wave lift it high, and then, as it sank into the life-giving water, she turned to the man, smiled, and said, “I made a difference for that one.”
The old man nodded and reflected for a moment.  Then he bent down, picked up a starfish, and returned it back to the sea.

You see, I believe it works like this, and I am speaking from three years of experience.  Your personal environmental actions may seen like drops in the ocean, but everything you do has a ripple effect that magnifies you impact.  When people see and hear you speak with passion about making a difference, it makes a little difference to their own thoughts and behaviours.  Lead by example and be a green citizen and others will follow!

Remember these wise words;

Vision without Action is merely a dream, and
Action without Vision just passes the time, however,
Vision with Action can change the world!

Reflect upon those words, and you can make a difference today.


  1. says

    Many thanks for this. And great to read that your back will let you do the daily commute again.

    Hope the new chookies and existing chookies are settling down together okay – they all look so very huggable (surely it must help with the egg yield – give a chook a huggle!)

  2. says

    You’re absolutely spot on with this post, Gav!

    I heard a podcast a while ago where Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet) mentioned the whole “what difference does a drop in a bucket make?” attitude:

    “One of our messages has been a challenge to the view that we’re all just a drop in the bucket and therefore insignificant,” said Lappé. “We have to say, `Wait a minute, you know if you put a bucket out in the rain overnight, it fills up.’ So being a drop in the bucket isn’t our problem, the problem is we can’t see the bucket, we can’t see how our individual choices are adding up, that our little drops are changing the world.”

    I think that sums up why I much prefer to read about (and write about!) positive actions and outcomes, rather than the depressing negative stories about what we’re doing to this planet. It’s important to show people that there is a bucket, and we can fill it up by working together.

  3. says

    What a coincedence, I only came across that story about the starfish in the last couple of weeks.

    I’ll have to check that book out, it’s sounds good.

    I just got Now or Never by Tim Flannery for my husband’s birthday. If he doesn’t start reading it soon, I will

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