Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ten Tips to Inspire Environmentalists

Climate change is profoundly and noticeably impacting the environment where I live. For the past few years, I've observed increasingly intense summer thunderstorms and accelerating tree death from a variety of causes. Despite an abundance of dragonflies this year (yay!), I've seen fewer butterflies, moths, and bees this summer. This loss has affected me deeply and left me feeling out of sorts. Discouraged about the general state of the planet's health and concerned for my eco-community specifically, I turned to a listserv of Maryland Master Naturalists for advice. Why keep plugging away at saving the environment, I asked, when things look so bleak? How do I keep my spirits up when I find myself discouraged?

Here are the ten best tips that I received for coping with environmental degradation and dealing with the feelings of loss and helplessness that can arise:

1. Remember that the Earth is resilient and will be here long after we are gone.

2. Recognize that it may take a number of adverse ecological changes before real, meaningful climate change legislation is enacted.

3. Get involved. Plant trees, keep bees, study native plants, aid pollinators. Every little bit helps.

4. Rejoice over small eco-victories.

5. Focus on what you can do for the planet and set a good example for others.

6. Speak out about climate change. Let your voice be heard and educate others.

7. Teach children to be environmental stewards.

8. Accept that some environmental change is inevitable. New, more adaptable species will arise to succession. This is part of life.

9. Know that you are part of a larger community of environmental stewards who are working to make a difference.

10. Events that we interpret as undesirable (such as tree death) have important environmental benefits too (bird habitat).

My thanks to the kind and generous Maryland Master Naturalists who responded to cheer me up. Keep fighting the good fight!

Image credit: tongdang, on

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