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Cumulative small efforts can make a big difference

I don’t know if it’s the media age we live in or some innate need, but some of us seem to feel unless we make a “grand gesture” the initiative is not worth doing.

It’s not enough to study a subject just for the sheer joy; we need to be working toward a PhD. Running for pleasure and health turns into training for the Boston Marathon. Creating a home means keeping one's eye on friends' and acquaintances' opinions.

The same approach appears to be happening to some friends of mine regarding their burden on the environment. If they can’t live in a Built Green home and be off the grid by installing a windmill and solar panels, it just isn’t worth bothering.

Check this out courtesy of the Energy Smart website:

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Forgive the American stats, but you get my point. Each small thing we do can have an amazing effect.

Imagine what could happen if we all held a family meeting around the dinner table and decided to implement at least one new environmentally sound idea a month — a week if you are feeling ready to rock!

You know the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”? Well, for those of us who live on property with a well and septic field, “what happens at home, stays at home” would be more apt. There is no “there,” as in using household chemicals and flushing the pollution “there.”

In our case ‘there” is a few feet away from our homes, and a problem with a septic field could cost a heart-stopping thousands of dollars.

When you have no garbage pick up, you are careful about packaging and you compost every scrap possible. When you depend on well water, no one needs to remind you to turn off the tap. We have been environmentalists a long time, not to brag about being ahead of the curve because we didn’t know we were, but because we had to be to make our households work.

Truth is, simple things can make a huge difference, like weather stripping. Even the weird little foamy things I placed behind every electrical socket in the house. Turning off lights when you leave a room.

Nothing is too small to make a big difference.

This is one fight where it doesn’t make a difference if you are rich or poor. If we pass the sustainable tipping point, money won’t buy you a pass.

So, fasten your seat belts, we are in for a bumpy ride — together.