Thursday, August 9, 2012

Group Effort For A Change

Not long ago, I watched a Japanese documentary about the cleanup and reed restoration work after the terrible tsunami.  There was despair.  Hopelessness.  Only until they became organized and worked as a team was there change.  One old man said as individuals we do not amount to much, but as a group....one can do anything.  In the US, we are taught it is the individual who can do anything.  The lone cowboy, the one brave soldier, the football player running the ball across the goal, the activist turning Congress around.....   It's seems heroic and romantic but it's far from reality.  Teamwork & community is not a dirty word as some think in the political spectrum.  As a species, we were evolved to work in small bands.  It is a hallmark in our line of primates, cooperation in a group.

PWA maintains nearly 7 acres of pristine high quality prairie.  It would be covered with buckthorn, mustard green and Canadian thistle right now if it wasn't for the prairie stewards organizing the group of volunteers to happily work only two hours a week, once a month in among the asters, compass plants, native grasses, rattlesnake master and so on.  One would not make a difference here.  We need many hands, minds, good humor and smiling faces.  There would be a 7 story building killing the prairie right now if a large group of PWA members & activists didn't stand up to the developers and the build-happy village trustees.

PWA educates and engages the public with field trips, events and presentations.  Being informed citizen scientists and activists go hand in hand.  Again, one person could not possibly fulfill these duties.  It takes a group of concerned dedicated volunteers who want to do something meaningful for the planet.

I have heard many times since becoming president of PWA, "What can I do?  I'm only one person."  I agree and tell them, "You're right.  You can't do much alone."
It's true.  Yes, once in a great while there is an Erin Brockovich, for example.  However, even she needed a legal team.  Alone, she would not have gotten very far fighting the a utility.

Caring folks tell me how hard they try to conserve at home, no lights after 8pm, 3 minute showers only twice a week, giving up toilet paper, etc.  I admire their spirit.  In the end though, it is futile Puritanism likely to help no one overall.  It is like skimming off a teaspoon of oil from the BP spill and saying you helped with the cleanup.  As a group, with so many voices in defense of our communities desiring a clean, healthy place for all living things; we can do anything!  Thank you.  Now let's get to work!