Small Actions Make a Huge Difference

By Joyce Amaro, LA Stormwater

Just before midnight, I stood in my front yard in my pajamas and bare feet staring up at a full moon that looked like someone had taken a bite out of it. The “blood moon” eclipse had begun. For the next half hour, I watched as darkness slowly crept across the moon’s surface. As I stood there, mesmerized, it struck me that I was seeing the Earth’s shadow for the first time in my life. Shadows are a daily part of our lives. They are simply there and we never give them much thought, anyways I don’t. Yet, here I was, shivering in the cool night air, absolutely transfixed by a shadow. The enormity and beauty of what I was watching was both awe-inspiring and humbling.

In the days following the lunar eclipse, I found myself curious about the size of the planet that was casting that massive shadow. I had a suspicion that the numbers would be equally massive and I wasn’t disappointed. Here are two facts that made my head spin.  Earth weighs a mind-boggling 5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms. What is that number anyways? Earth’s circumference at the Equator is 24,901 miles. To give you a sense of how far this is, it would take an F-22 jet at its top speed of 1,500 mph approximately 30 hours to circumnavigate our planet. Wow and Wow!

So often, we mistakenly believe that because Earth is so large that the polluting actions of one small person won’t have a negative impact. That’s simply not true. The actions of an individual can have an enormous impact (either good or bad) on the environment. I’m reminded of the fact that used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.

After learning a bit more about this magnificent third rock from the sun, I have decided to recommit myself to taking care of Earth. Won’t you join me?  It’s easy at A Billion Acts of Green, an international movement to protect the planet. Earth Day Network launched this campaign on April 22, 2010, Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. Having reached their goal of one billion pledges in 2012, they have the new goal of reaching two billion acts of green.  I’m taking the pledge to start doing monthly cleanups in my neighborhood, which will help keep trash out of our local waterways.  Yes, compared to a planet that weighs a bajillion, megamazillion kilograms, my community clean-ups may seem inconsequential, but I truly believe that small actions make a huge difference!

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