Friday, June 16, 2006

Metamorphosis - Time for change

In Tadpole, a child is enthralled with frog's metamorphosis.

Thanks to our love of fast vehicles and carbon fuels, our Earth is undergoing a metamorphosis of its own.

Like so many endangered species--Panda Bears, Snow Leopards, Gorillas, to name a few--the frogs and toads that thrilled my child self with their ability to change from a "fish" to a "hopper" are disappearing at an alarming rate.

One of my most comforting childhood sounds was the cacaphony of crickets, toads, and frogs on a hot summer eve. With every window and door in the house wide open (it was safe then, even on the ground floor), faint breezes slowly cooled tired, sticky arms and legs till they stopped twitching.

Lulled by the breezes, the chirping and peeping, we little ones drifted contentedly to sleep.

My seven-month old granddaughter hears cars racing up and down her street at night, though toward the back of the house, where she sleeps, she can also hear songbirds in the dusky evening and again as dawn approaches.

But will she ever know the roar of frogs and crickets, the whirr of moths against the porch light? Will she smell air so pure it makes her lungs inflate large all on their own?

How were we tots of the Forties and Fifties to know these simple pleasures could disappear forever, that they might not always be a part of our lives, our children's lives, and their children's--part of their going-to-sleep-safe summer nights?

There is hope.

In "A Leap of Faith: Embracing Our Native Frogs," (Bay Nature April-June 2002), David Rains Wallace cites the resiliency of amphibians, whose populations have risen and fallen since the Jurassic period. Bellweathers of our Earth's heated response to our use of fossile fuels, those amphibians not yet extinct have a chance to flourish, if we help.

Which means we have time to reverse global warming.

It's up to you and me. Our leaders are not going to do it. Their fortunes are tied to fossil fuels. It is up to us, we who must put one foot in front of the other day after day, to lead them. We lead by the choices we make.

When we take a reusable mug to Starbucks instead of buying a throw-away cup, we lead. When we insist on Fair Trade coffee, we lead. When we ride a bicycle to work, take the bus, or walk, we lead. When we buy organic produce, we lead. When we recycle our water bottles and junk mail, yes we lead.

But I am only one person. When so many are doing otherwise, what I do doesn't really count.

Yes. What we do, each individual, counts--no matter how insignificant we feel.

Lead by example.

What steps are you taking to reduce your use of carbon fuels? What new step can you take today? Share your steps here--one foot in front of the other--and congratulate yourself on every action, no matter how small it feels.

Lead by example. Celebrate success.


  1. I love our recycling program here in Portland. Curbside recycling for paper, glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, yard debris, used oil. I love our bottle bill--thank you Tom McCall. And with all of that, you are right, we still need to do more.

    Once helps. Even if I don't take my own cup every time, once helps. Even if I don't ride the bus everyday, once helps.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. So true, Wanda. Once helps. Again and again and again. Kudos to Portland where citizens have instigated some great projects that are improving quality of life in sustainable ways. Thank you for writing and for checking in.

  3. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Once does help. It's a way of connecting hope to action, heart to thought, future to now. Once is the first step in creating new habits that can change the world. Someone said once that if we do it for 21 days, it becomes habit, a lifestyle change. Let it begin and continue.... koko


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