It’s daunting to read news about the environment and about carbon emissions in particular. One article I just read stated that China’s emissions will reach their peak sometime after 2030. Or maybe they won’t. No one’s really certain. What is certain is that we’re all emitting too much and seem unable to lower our emissions quickly enough.
It’s tempting to look at the staggering numbers coming out of China (or any industrialized country for that matter) and to throw our arms up in resignation:
How much of a difference can I actually make? What does it matter whether I ride my bike or drive my car? What difference can I really make?
But wait – don’t go there! There’s a saying that originated from Rabbi Tarfon, around the first century AD. It states:
It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.
There’s another, from Mother Teresa:
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Both of these quotes motivate me to continue to do my part, however small it may be. I live in the hope that each of us doing our small parts has a ripple effect that goes beyond ourselves. We become part of establishing the new normal and over time, the world is perfected. I know – we don’t have time, but I still feel that we are not free to desist. So – keep on turning those lights down, riding your bike, recycling. At least we can be part of the solution.