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Small steps are steps, too.

Sometimes, with all the bad news coming in from all sides – climate change, weird politics and even weirder politicians, wars, people drowning in the Mediterranean, insects dying – I feel like anything I can do is just so small and so insignificant I might as well give up.

That’s not true, though – and one reason I enjoyed the weekend excursion with the BUND so much was that we heard a lot of success stories. Yes, wild cats are still very rare, but they have a better chance now. Yes, it is still too dry in the summer, and water scarcity will become an even bigger problem in the next decades, but there are ways to keep trees alive without wasting water. Yes, there were new roads and new railroads built in the last years that made a huge scar in the landscape, but at least some measures were taken to give the wildlife a chance to cross those roads, and protected areas were enlarged to lessen the impact at least a little bit.

Sometimes it’s just small things – small steps. But I try to remind myself that small steps are steps, too. We’ve switched from carton-packed milk to milk in glass bottles a while ago, and I’m amazed at the difference this made in the amount of our waste. There’s still a lot of things you cannot get in returnable or re-useable packaging, especially a lot of dairy products, but every carton not bought – helps.

We’ve been bringing our own bags to buy loose produce for ages now, re-using the flimsy plastic bags that you get as often as possible. There’s still one coming in occasionally, so we won’t run out soon; they are small and lightweight, so I tend to stash one or three of them in backpacks just in case I need one when I’m somewhere. There’s a sturdier folding bag in my handbag as well, also just in case. Some of the plastic bags, when they start to give out at the handles, get a last use to collect used cat litter or as trash bags for otherwise yucky trash (we usually don’t use a bin liner bag).

As paper bags are not so much better than plastic bags, I’ve been trying to cut down on these too, recently. Most of the paper bags we have coming in are from buying bread at the bakery, and that is very easy to avoid: I just bring a clean cloth bag, and the baker drops the bread in there. No trouble, no fuss, no paper bag. There are still a number of paper bags coming home with me from bakeries, for instance when buying sticky, cake-y things that won’t do well in a cloth bag, and they get re-used as liners for the compost bin.

Every bag counts. Every step counts. Even if it’s a small one – it is still a step. If we all do the little steps we can, the world will move into the right direction. And while we might not be able to reverse every damage done to the planet, we can still do our bit to save as much as possible!

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2 Responses to Small steps are steps, too.

  1. Heather says:

    To paraphrase, the saying is, if you think you are too small to make a difference, think of being trapped in a room with a mosquito.

    (As in, the mosquito is tiny but can make a world of difference to you, especially if it is contagious).

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