"We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains"
Why we must continue to believe in what we’re doing.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
With so much going on in the world politically and socially occasionally the gravity of these situations can bring our hope down with it. With constant news of massacres, unjust rulings, and developing tension it can begin to feel like the impact of an individual won’t make a difference.
At times, I know I have felt this way. I also don't expect it to be the last time I’ve had to push these thoughts out of my head. Especially as the future of our nations are clouded in uncertainty, ruled with violence, and powered by industry we’re up against a lot to try to make the world a better place.
The day I heard about what happened in Paris I was sifting through leaf litter separating each piece into piles to measure the carbon production of the forest. I was totally emerged into this micro-world, enough so that I began to contemplate life's most revered questions. How did it all begin? And where are we headed? I held a universe in my hands. Microscopic plants were growing from even smaller roots attached to what would take a person a half second to destroy.
This was creation and destruction so intertwined that I couldn't differentiate between what was decaying and what was becoming. I couldn't help but compare our world to this microcosm. What if someone held our world in their hands and looked into deeply? Or what if someone already was? Would they be able to tell where life began? Where it ends? The actions we are forcing on each other fueled from hatred have blurred the lines of why we are here. These events between countries and within cultures are equally hard to comprehend if life is being salvaged or destroyed. The sad reality is that events like what happened in Paris occur daily in other countries, and they have happened to every country at some point throughout history. War and love, union and defense, these are creation and destruction at their core and we define our world by them. It seems in our quest to develop we have forgotten about the third piece of life; maintenance.
These thoughts rushed through my head and left me with the immense feeling of wondering if what I am doing is really making a difference. Surely in comparison to whats happening in the world this project of amphibian conservation and community sustainability can’t be having that large of an impact. …But just as quickly as these thoughts entered, my soul pushed them out and with it reveled the small plant within that is budding from the decaying world around. Only the individual can choose whether or not to find the sun, seek the light, and grow. The individual may start out small, but there is potential to stand high among the rest. Our roots grow stronger as we begin to trust the land we are in. I realized from this tiny world I had chosen to see hope. Instead of seeing a pile of decomposing biomass, my perspective had changed it into potential. The world hadn’t changed (at least not yet), but the way I saw it had. And this is where true change starts.
There are going to be many events in our future that will make us feel hopeless. The struggle to influence the world to be a better place may only become more challenging. This cannot be an excuse to stop believing in what we are doing. All good things, all big movements, all serious change, began with individuals and they are now maintained through the individual. Never doubt your own power to make a difference. Never stop believing in what you’re doing. Chances are if you don't feel good about what you’re doing, the world doesn't either. Choose to be the seed that grows higher than all the rest and find the light.
May we realize that our actions do indeed influence every little world within our larger one. Despite if we remain violent towards each other all of those tiny universes, just like the one I had in my hands, will persist. Biology will drive adaptation and evolution. Perhaps with our actions we too are just fueling adaptation. I can only hope that it creates life rather than ends it.
Even if creation and destruction blur into the same thing we still must believe in the maintenance of our worlds. We still have to believe that the individual can and will make a difference. We still have to believe we are enough. Because just like this microscopic plant, we can grow, build, and become from what once was. And at the very least, we persist. Aum.
A tour of my home while at the farm
The adventures of frogging and everything in between...