Sometimes, addressing a big issue on a small scale can give us a fresh perspective on our bigger-scaled problems. Deforestation is one of the most horrific things we have done to this planet throughout history. It’s a direct offense to the planet and an attack on the Earth’s lungs. So, when the people of a tiny islet practically stripped their land of trees, their economy and livelihood was decimated. Then one man saw a solution.
The power of passion
When I saw this video (spoiler: it’s a long one), I was overwhelmed by the effectiveness of Baruch Musa Omar. Baruch saw that this tiny islet was floundering in its own decision to strip the land of trees for economic gain.
When Baruch saw the brink Kokota was on, he went back to his own island (not too far away) and started planting seedlings of trees. Over time (at about 9:40 in the video, as a matter of fact) word of his efforts reached the UN, many of the locals, and the entire population of Kokota—so that several million trees could be put in the ground.
That’s million with an M; an insane amount of change brought on by just one person.
The power of people
If you’re like me, when you look at the pictures of waste piling up on the shores, or read reports of e-waste accumulating in Agbogbloshie, you can become overwhelmed. But, that’s when the power of your decision really comes in to play.
Like Baruch with his vision, you can change the future with the decisions you make today. And as you do, other people will see the example you’ve made and, before you know it, you will start a revolution.
This microcosm of Kokota shrinks the timeline enough that we can actually see the impact that just one or two people can truly make. Since our land is larger—and the planet bigger still—we need to allow that the shift is going to be harder to see. But that doesn’t mean what you do isn’t changing things.
The power of potential
When you think about it, it was our tiny actions that have added up to get us into this mess in the first place. We’ve only had synthetic polymers for less than 100 years. So why not attribute a solution to the same incremental steps? If we can wreck our planet in 100 years of wanton consumption, just imagine what kind of recovery we could make with 100 of reuse and sustainability!
“But I’m just one person… and I’m not on an island” you say. I get it. But I also know that if I drink a cup of tea from my local café every day for a year, that is 365 cups I am sending to the landfill—almost 400 the café has to purchase for just me. But, if I take a travel mug in to get my drink, that’s nearly 400 cups that I can remove from the equation altogether. And I have four children, so in showing them how to reduce waste, I can quadruple my efforts.
Or maybe you are already doing all that you can. That's great! But you still have a voice to hold companies and governments accountable for their actions. That voice, when joined with the other voices crying out for justice on behalf of the planet will become an overwhelming chorus of change that even world governments can't ignore. Clearly, we all have the power to affect change.
Sage is founded on this principle of compounding sustainable decisions. We do it with e-waste because that is one of the most powerful ways to change the planet’s direction. But we believe whole-heartedly that, when added up over time, it’s our individual choices that make the most change.
Image ©: Garden Gate Trees