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: cascais


Hairy Mary said...

Flamingoes are amazing birds. The part that I like is when the salt pan they're on dries up and the unfledged chicks have to make the journey on foot to their new feeding ground. The distance can be a thousand miles away.
The chicks are accompanied by a group of adults and others fly in to feed the mob every day. The journey can take a month or more. Many chicks die because of salt deposits on their wings or feet.
What amazed me was when the main flock knew the group of chicks were near, they went out to meet them. There was a great cacaphony of joyous noise when both groups met each other.
That leaves a message for us on our Christian journey. We have to be accompanied and supported by those wiser and older than us. Some of us grow quicker than others, some of us fall by the wayside.
But when we do come home, what a joyous reception will be waiting for us!

Unknown said...

Dear Steve,
I have finally accepted my vocation, and that is to be as an Environmentalist. My work as Executive Director of CETDEM (an Environmental NGO based in Malaysia) has brought a whole world of positive change upon me and my family.
Reading your contribution today, made me feel as if you had stalked my family as we were out shopping!! Ha ha.
We (myself, my wife and 2 kids) do our little bit to save the world one plastic bag at a time ... just like the boy saving the the starfish one at a time.
It is tough being different, environmental-wise. I bring empty ice-cream tubs to the fishmonger - and the fishmonger now chides me if I forget to bring these with me!! I'm happy to get that kind of dressing down. It means the fishmonger has understood the message.
My kids are great at sharing their new found love for the environment with other kids, whether in Sunday School or regular school.
Saving the world one day at a time. All in God's time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.
no one have a problems like me now the problems become part from my life and no one lestin and no one want to help you and evry one in this world now thinking in him self/her self that is life now !!
every one want some thing but in diffrent ways and every one have a special thing in his / her life .
and I haveing problems to find job for me now becouse I have not work since 6 months and I sent the many of letters to the government to help me to find any work becouse I have 36 years oled and I have a family but no one answer me and that get me sad and annoy from them
yes, Iam accountants manager without job . so , my dream different now my dream now how can I find job so, the life get you thinking in your life and your dream .
Best of luck , and be HAPPY .. those who wish to sing, always find a song !

Best Regards,
Mr.Wahed Mansour