There are very few things we take more for granted than quite simply the air we breathe or the ground we walk on, and all that is nature which surrounds us.   It is easy to overlook all of these.

Each and every day as I set out for my morning walk, I take a moment to acknowledge the ever changing landscape from the flowers to the trees and all the nuances that make up the scenery.   Not too long ago I was up early walking my dog with a friend and having a discussion regarding the environment and the impact of “going green”.   Actually to be more accurate it was more of a monologue than a dialogue, as I listened without replying.

We walked along, and she began telling me how she does not understand this focus we have lately on being environmentally conscious as, in her opinion, it does not matter what we do when other countries do not hold the same standard and thus what they do impacts us in some way.   Because of that ideology, the thinking is that it is futile to try to make a difference. She concluded the conversation by asking, “What difference does it really make anyway?”

This person is not alone in these beliefs.    A lot of people struggle with wondering if what they do truly matters or can make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  It can seem overwhelming, although there is also a different approach, and one that I choose to take.

As we continued walking and I continued listening, I looked at the houses in the area and realized each individual house is an analogy for each person who inhabits the planet.   I noticed a neighbor out in the yard picking up branches, waving hello as we walked by.   I also saw how all of the houses were well kept, and each person was doing their part to make this a nice neighborhood.    While all the lawns are not perfectly manicured by a professional, they all look clean, and it takes each individual for that to happen.

For me, the conversation reminded me of Mother Theresa’s poem, “Do Good Anyway”.  The message of the poem is to not worry about what everyone else is doing but rather what you are doing.  There will always be someone who thinks it is a waste of time, your efforts are not going to be a success and even if it does, it won’t really matter in the long run anyway.    Along the lines of the poem, have faith that what you do makes a difference; although everyone may not choose to participate, the more people who do, the more impactful the results can be.

I learned firsthand how important it is to do what we can for the environment when I was traveling to an Asian country recently.   While I was mesmerized by its beauty, I was equally captivated by the struggle it was at times to simply breathe.  The air was thick on some mornings due to the smog, and it was an eye-opening experience (sometimes eye-watering) that made me instantly grateful once I got back home and back to where I could breathe again.

There are many things that we take for granted.  Equally, there are many ways that we can make a difference.   It only takes one house to decrease the property value of a neighborhood, and likewise, it only takes one person to make a positive impact.


Author: Bryan Hayes is an actor, amateur photographer, business consultant and full-time lover of all things living.