Friday, August 1, 2008
Solving Our Greatest Problems
We have great problems. Insurmountable problems! But we can solve even our most difficult problems if we work together.
Some of the greatest problems we face today are concerned with the gradual destruction of our environment through over-use and abuse of our resources. Unsightly brown clouds; wildlife extinctions; water that can’t be consumed; the disappearance of ancient glaciers… these problems all seem so huge.
So my family does what we can. We take cloth bags to the grocery store instead of using paper or plastic grocery sacks. We buy organic foods when possible. We walk where we don’t have to drive. Our home, like many of yours, is filled with compact fluorescent bulbs and we use water saving faucets.
But does it do any good? When I am the only one in line at the grocery store with cloth bags, am I doing any good? Does my walking to the store or shivering under the drizzle of my anemic shower head make any real difference to the world?
I recently learned something about flamingos – which probably behave like many migrating birds. These exquisite birds flock in huge groups of a thousand or more. Every year, when the time comes for migration, a few flamingos start the process by taking off from the lake. But none of the others seem to notice, so the tiny group returns.
However, the next day they try again. This time a few more struggle along with them, but the vast majority still pay no attention, so these pioneers come back.
The trend continues for several more days. EvIery time a few more birds join in but, since the thousands of others still take no notice, the great migration plan is once more aborted.
Then one day something changes. The same small group of birds once again takes wing and a tiny number more join in, just as before. And this time their total number, though still quite small, is enough to tip the balance. As one, the whole flock takes flight and the migration begins. What a spectacular sight it must be – thousands of flamingos taking to the sky at once!
A few CAN make a difference. It’s true that all of the great problems of the world have been solved because of the persistent efforts of a few.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead put it like this: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
If you believe in a cause, don’t give up! Others will someday take notice and together we will solve even our greatest problems.
-- Steve Goodier
Image: freeimages.com/cristina cascais