Thursday, April 22, 2021

We all have a role on Earth Day

Golden-Crowned Kinglet Among Cherry Blossoms, Snohomish County, Washington

A lot of environmental activism focuses on what others need to do. Switching to clean energy. Stopping pollution. Conserving large swaths of land. And so on. But individuals play a role, too. We can’t afford to act as if taking care of the planet is always someone else’s problem.

Big problems require big changes and activism can lead to policy changes and substantial actions that make big differences. But millions of tiny actions can also add up to big differences too.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing how many small changes in my own yard have added up over the years. When I moved in, the house was surrounded by a huge lawn. There were four trees and a few shrubs. The parcel, like every other in the neighborhood, was for people.

I’ve replaced most of the lawn with native shrubs. In the little lawn that remains, I let dandelions grow because they’re a critical resource for bees.

To most people, the yard was substantially prettier a decade ago. But as I was sitting on the deck this week responding to emails, I took a few minutes to look up and appreciate the sheer number of birds and bees that visit the yard. There are even some songbirds that have built nests. That didn’t happen here a decade ago.

It’s critically important to work toward big societal change. But it’s also important to do what we can at home. It all adds up.

(Follow Kevin Ebi's photography on Facebook or Instagram. Prints of his images are available through

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