Feeling Climate Urgency, Individuals Keep Up the Good Work

“Young urban shepherd Lukas Janssens guides his flock among the graves in Schoonselhof, one of Belgium’s iconic cemeteries, knowing sheep are kinder to nature than lawnmowers.

“Limiting emissions of carbon dioxide, a key contributor to climate change, and promoting biodiversity are two key goals of De Antwerpse Stadsherder — The Antwerp City Shepherd — Janssens’ company of one human and 270 sheep.

“‘We won’t stave it off with a flock of sheep,’ Janssens said of global warming. ‘But it is another step to build an more ecological society.’ … Janssens is one of many who have taken on a very personal commitment to do something, along with those who refuse to fly, adapt their personal diet or stay off school to protest on Fridays.”

Don’t you just just love this! I read it in today’s paper. (“After UN climate report, individuals seek to do their part“; Raf Casert, Associated Press; published in Daytona Beach News-Journal Aug 17, 2021.)

And on Facebook yesterday, I “met” a guy in the UK who has a business called The Trim Reapers. For a modest hourly fee, Matthew and friends “provide scything services for meadows, orchards, verges, banks, scrubby areas, and the like. Without the use of fossil fuels and creating only gentle and pleasant sounds.”

Whether it’s creating a climate-aware business or changing a personal habit, we can all get in on the positive shift. We have to keep putting pressure on companies and political leaders, always. But personal actions add up and help create the favorable atmosphere for the change we seek at the corporate and political level.

Yesterday I replaced another few square feet of turfgrass in a client’s yard with tall native grasses and a flowering chive. It feels like slow going but every bit makes a visual difference in the neighborhood, by helping to shift the norm.

And I downloaded and shared, with several thousand people on social media, this beautiful concise PowerPoint presentation on the value of native landscapes. It’s by Florida native-gardening advocates Ginny Stibolt and Marjory Shropshire, and is one of many free downloads available on the resources page of Florida Native Plant Society’s website. (Though the publications are aimed at a Florida audience, the eco concepts and visual design principles are broadly applicable.)

Recently, a friend who lived in an HOA started drying her clothes on a clothesline. She had thought clotheslines were against the HOA rules, but when she read the fine print, it turned out they are allowed. She was thrilled.

When she asked me about ideas for next steps, I suggested she write a short article on her clothesline success and the benefits of sun-drying clothes, and submit it to her HOA newsletter and post it on NextDoor.

Onward … What are you working on? Got any successes you’d like to share?

Also please feel free to share your struggles. I struggle with plastic-packaged food; I find it almost impossible to avoid.