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The Weight of Nothing

Submitted by Roxanne Griffin

photo of snowflake
Guy Turenne

Hi There,

My name is Roxanne Griffin and I’m a citizen of the United States of America, a.k.a. the world’s number one contributor to plastic pollution. Cheeky bugger you might be thinking about right now, eh? Don’t get me wrong, I feel most fortunate to have been born and raised in the good ole U.S. of A. There’s a lot to be said for being an American. For example, guess how I learned we are the world’s biggest contributor to plastic waste? It was a study mandated by none other than our Congress! Don’ t know how that makes you feel, but I take it as a step in the right direction and it makes me proud. Well hopeful might be a better word choice. Hopeful for change, for possibilities against the odds, that’s my America!

Let’s get straight to the point, what are YOU doing about plastic pollution? You are reading this which is a positive sign. So again, I ask what are you doing? Are you trying to make better choices in your purchases by considering the packaging of items before buying them? Or maybe you are super diligent in washing plastic containers before putting them in the recycle bin? Or maybe you upcycle plastics that can’t be recycled? Or maybe you volunteer at your community’s recycling center educating the public on recyclables? All of these actions are well and good. But news flash, we need to do MORE, myself included!

snow flake
Alan Burden - Unsplash

I’m not an expert. But we do not need to be experts to know there is a problem. We’ve only to open our eyes. We do not need to be experts to make our voices heard. We’ve only to speak from a place of moral stewardship for our planet earth and to be willing to educate ourselves and do the good work.

While I do not want this blog to be about ‘doomerism,’ I fully realize in order to tackle the problem of plastic pollution I/we need to strive to fully understand the problem. One of my biggest challenges will be to balance information which may leave us longing to join those ‘head in the sand’ folks living out their insular lives in Pleasant Valley who think they can just wish the problem away while simultaneously sparking the fire of advocacy that burns within all of us who frankly give a damn but perhaps feel too overwhelmed to take that first step.

So, I hope you will ‘walk’ along with me as I begin this journey in earnest. But for now, I leave you with a conversation between a sparrow and a dove with hopes of reminding you whenever you think your voice is of little consequence in working for change, or your actions too small in comparison to others, always remember that when one is added to another and then another, great things can happen.

snow flakes
Kasper Szczechia - Unsplash

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a sparrow asked a wild dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.

“In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the sparrow said. “I sat on the branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not a giant blizzard, no, just like a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles on my branch. Their number was exactly, 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch-nothing more than nothing as you say-the branch broke off.” Having said that, the sparrow flew away.

The dove thought about the story for a while and finally thought to herself, “Perhaps there is only one voice lacking for peace in our world.”


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