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What Can One Person Do?


Last night I drove 5 1/2 hours home from my aunt’s funeral, through a pounding rainstorm. On the way my thoughts, not surprisingly, turned to what is important in life and what kind of legacy is left behind when we pass away. It is easy to feel that one person can’t do much, yet the voices of my Aunt Mildred’s children and grandchildren told a different story yesterday. This quiet woman, committed to her family and to her faith, defied stereotypes in her working life and modeled life long learning for her family. The November rainstorm – unheard of in my corner of the world, we should be having blizzards, not rain – reminded me of the legacy I want to leave for my children.  I want them to know that I did everything I could to address the threat of global climate destabilization caused by our society’s addiction to fossil fuels.

Artist and author Franke James answers the question “What can one person do, when 6.8 billion people are frying the planet?” with a visual essay that was featured in this week. Here are a few of the striking images from her essay:

Ms. James reminds us to find out about our community’s climate change plan, and make our own mitigation plan – for example, her family has given up their car, built a permeable driveway, and planted trees in their yard. Our family has put up a 7Kw solar array, and we use active transportation (ie walking or biking) whenever we can. As well as we plant a garden in the summer and have dramatically decreased our intake of meat.

Once you’ve found out what your town or city’s climate change mitigation plan is, and made your own climate mitigation plan, Ms. James reminds us to get connected to an environmental group to remind our political leaders to address this issue:

Thanks, Franke, for reminding me it’s important for each of us do what we can. To see the full visual essay, click here.

More links:

Toronto’s Climate Change, Clean Air, and Sustainable Energy Action Plan

The Municipal Role in Climate Change: Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Four Years. Go

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/11/04 10:54 am


    Thanks so much for your very thoughtful post! An important personal story well told. Delighted that my essay provided some inspiration for you — keep up the great work. I enjoyed the Bill Maher video post about why Coral Reefs matter.

    I’ve added a link to your post as a comment on Grist.



  2. Christine permalink*
    2010/11/04 12:11 pm

    Hi Franke –

    Thanks for dropping by, and for the link on Grist!


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