It was Sunday morning, and my husband and I were packing and cleaning up our little resort apartment before we returned home after a long weekend.
One of the last remaining jobs was to take out the garbage, recycle, and compost.
Luckily, the garbage and recycle bins were merely 30 meters from our door.
The compost, though, was on the complete other side of the resort - a good 10 minute walk (downhill, then up again.)
As I was walking there, I wondered how many people throw their compost in the garbage, so as not to bother.
How many people choose ease over the environment?
When I arrived at the compost bin, I got my answer. Not many people bothered. The bin was there, and practically empty.
Yes, they could have recently emptied it, but I had dropped off our compost 2 days prior, and it was the same.
Over the years, many people have questioned my small acts to help the planet - vigilance about turning off lights, hanging all of our laundry, wearing clothes multiple times before washing, only having 1 car, not owning certain appliances that we can borrow from neighbors, etc.
Many have said to me things like, "My individual acts don't matter. It's the big corporations that need to act," or "What's the point? Anything I do is a drop in the bucket."
As I was walking to the compost in the resort, I was thinking about Stephen Covey. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he talks about the circle of influence and the circle of concern.
According to Covey, when we spend too much time concerned, but not influencing anything, we end up shrinking our ability to do anything. We get overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed at the enormity of certain situations.
Yet, if we spend our time in our circle of influence, it expands. Each small act adds up, and ripples out, influencing more and more people and situations. It may take a while, but it still has a mark.
I know that my small environmental acts aren't going to "save" the planet, but in 30 years, when my kids have kids, I will know that I did my part.
And as for the big corporations that need to act...who do you think keeps them in business?
Is there anything in your life where you could scale back to what you can influence, rather than focusing on what you can't?
Originally posted on LinkedIn with comments.
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I am Theresa Destrebecq.