A Little Step in Taking Care of the Environment

About three weeks ago I met a friend to have a walk along a lake. We started walking, and talked about several things. At some point I started collecting some garbage I found on the way.

We kept talking, I didn’t mention what I was doing, and after five or ten minutes my friend joined in collecting things.

After a while we were both carrying a lot of plastic bags, bottles, wrappings, and so on. We found a bigger bag and put things in there. People started looking at us. It must have been a nice picture: two people, quite relaxed, walking around the lake, talking and carrying a lot of garbage. Most of the people smiled at us. Some stopped their walks and started talking to us—about what they were doing to take care of the environment or how annoyed they were about people throwing things into nature. We listened and then kept walking and collecting things.

After a while my friend said, “It’s like searching for mushrooms.” So we started playing “searching for mushrooms.” We looked for garbage, and if one of us found some, the other would say, “Oh no, I saw it first! It’s my garbage!” It was fun.

Maybe next time we take a walk, we will bring our own plastic bag to make the collecting easier.

I learned several things that morning:

  • As I did what I was doing, it created room for my friend to make his decision for himself.

    Because we both did what we were doing because we wanted to do it, we didn’t feel “better than” for doing it. We were just doing it.

    As morality wasn’t our motivation, I think it was much easier for people to start talking to us.

    Activism for me is mostly connected with doing the “big thing.” This way of getting active is more doable for me. And it gives me more slack to think about bigger things I would like to do.

What are your experiences with doing “smaller” things? How have you tried to bring about change?

Love from Berlin, Germany,

Carsten Filor

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of wide world change

(Present Time 185, October 2016)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00