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The Power of Small

I've always said, whenever asked, that environmentalism is more about saving people than the planet; the planet is perfectly capable of looking after herself. The Earth has gone through many transformations over her lifecycle and will continue to do so into the future. Whether that future includes humans is, in part, up to us, and in part dependent upon cosmic forces beyond our control (whatever we do, a meteor strike would wipe us all out anyway). 
In political circles and the media, there seems to be little interest in the environment. And, frankly, in a capitalist society, until saving the planet makes money, business is not going to be that interested either. And yet, much has been achieved. Renewable electricity generation has increased dramatically in recent years, recycling has gone up, the number of plastic bags going into landfill has fallen. Environmental issues are taught at schools - especially at primary school level. The government's attempt to sell Britain's national forests to developers was defeated by a public outcry. There are numerous local community woods and city farms being set up; here in Norfolk, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust has just acquired another huge area of land to be preserved as a wildlife reserve. And more and more people are turning to a vegetarian (and even vegan) diet. When I was a child, back in the 1970s, it was almost impossible to buy eco-friendly products; now most supermarkets stock them. A lot of good has been achieved, though there is still much to do.
Campaigning is about working like water on stone - smoothing out the rough edges over time, slowly, gently, persistently. Consequently, it can be hard sometimes to see the changes that we have effected, but they are there and are continuing.
It's the small actions we take individually and as families and local communities that matter most. We have a very small budget, but we get our electricity from a green company, we have planted up our small garden with lots of bee-friendly flowers, we're involved in a local Open Gardens event in our town - not just big, fancy gardens, but gardens spruced up by people on modest and low incomes just for the joy of nature, and sharing that joy with others. We're in the process of turning a little roundabout into a miniature wildflower area and setting up a group to plant a community woodland. Through Facebook, I and many other people share pictures we have taken of plants, birds, insects, etc, building excitement and enthusiasm for nature's wonders - the surest way to encourage people to then want to cherish and protect them.
I walk the streets knocking on doors asking people to join Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It involves a lot of rejection! But what I have noticed is that 90% of people I call on are supportive of what the trust does, even if they are not currently financially able to support it. And most people's gardens, however big or small, are little havens of wildlife. And, the way I see it, just by knocking on their door, I'm raising their awareness of the environment - a seed planted which may bloom days, months or years later.
Never underestimate the good that can grow from often the smallest of positive actions.
So, my Druidry is small - I take regular walks in the countryside, picking up any litter as I go, commune in my heart with the sun, the rain, the trees, learn about the plants and bugs around me, share my humble discoveries through 21st century technology (pictures taken on a mobile phone and uploaded via the internet), I plant flowers, am quietly vegan, and occasionally write to my MP.
It can be depressing watching the news, but I always remind myself that the media thrive on conflict and drama. There is so much good being done that is too small, too local or too uncontroversial to report on, but it's going on just the same. And if the news or fears about world events start to get me down, I turn off the TV, step away from the computer, and go for a walk, dig the garden or simply put the peelings into the compost bin. And the sense of powerlessness fades away.


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