Everyone can be stewards of the environment


One day I was pulling my recycling cart back into my garage, where anyone can see the living proof of my efforts in trying to reuse most everything, and my neighbor came up to chat. I was telling him about my latest recycling project and the things I had left to do for this year’s festival when he turned to me and asked: “Why are you doing all this?” 

I had no short answer to that, so I just smiled and we went our separate ways.

That question kept coming back to me. I knew only the long answer. 

When I was a child, one of the things I enjoyed the most was playing outside. Our backyard was huge, filled with fruit trees and my mother’s plants. My sister and I had plenty of space to ride our bikes, and pretend to fill up our tanks before heading to a prestigious picnic on the sunny side of the grassy yard. 

Sometimes when coming back from a morning on the beach, we turned on the hose to wash off the sand and had mud fights. My childhood taught me to love the outdoors and treasure nature.

Unfortunately, people have become detached from nature because, as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods” and many other best-selling books, puts it, “a lot of people think they need to give up nature to become adults but that’s not true.” 

Nature and people are deeply connected. 

“Nature itself is mysterious and brings us out of ourselves. We don’t really understand why nature calms us but we know that we are using all of our senses at the same time. … Nowhere than in nature do kids use their senses in such a stimulated way.” 

We need nature. We need it not only for being the source of our survival, but to live well.  At the same time, nature needs us. We need to be stewards of the environment and protect nature not only for its beauty and calming effects, but for its value to us as a species, for our own sake.

And we can do that. Everyone can do that! From kids to adults, every action counts. 

During the summer, I met a third grader who changed the recycling habits in her neighborhood just by putting a sign on the neighborhood’s Dumpster door. Lily is her name. She converted her observations into action; she took a step to help nature and it paid off. Lily will be sharing her story on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the fourth annual 3Rs and Beyond Family Festival, an event that brings families together to connect with nature and celebrate sustainable living. The festival will be at POW/MIA Park on U.S.1 (north of Pineda Ave.Cswy) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  It is free and open to the public. If you would like to meet Lily, that is your chance.

People like Lily are an inspiration. They are true stewards of the environment. 

Through selfless actions we are able make a difference locally and to touch some lives while helping our community so we can all live better. Actions like those motivate others to do something too; they spring people to action in a domino effect. It may sound crazy, but the more we do, the more we want to do because we see how far out we can reach.

That was the long answer.

As for the short answer, well, I took the long turn but in the end it comes down to our needs. Nature needs us and we need nature. Protecting and caring for the environment is really a matter of self-preservation. To work on anything that helps the environment is a mission and a life-time commitment. Somebody needs to take that on and lead the way.  Lily is one of them and so am I. 


For more information, contact Marcia Booth at Marcia@RecycleBrevard.org.