Monday, September 7, 2009

Every action has a consequence ...

A couple of days ago, we went for a walk in a state park. At the entrance to one of the trails a sign had been posted informing hikers to "bee" aware. It went on to say that at this time of year, some varieties of bees nest in or near the ground and if a hiker mistakenly steps on the nest or disturbs it, a sting is likely.

A little further down the trail, a cicada sang loudly ... it sounded like it was on the ground. I had never actually seen a cicada, so we searched around and sure enough ... there it was ... on the ground ... singing and moving around. Curious (and wanting a better look), we picked it up ... and when we did, a bee flew off. Evidently the bee had stung the cicada, hoping for a meal ... but in our curiosity, we interrupted the process. The bee didn't get his lunch and the cicada died for nothing.

Later, at home, we sat on the patio (a small space) and noticed all kinds of dramas taking place. Two hummingbirds were chasing each other around the feeder ... a wasp was trapped in a spider's web, struggling to get away as the spider patiently waited nearby ... a mother sparrow was feeding a youngster who was big enough to feed itself but still wanted "mom" to do it while nearby a chipmunk was busy stuffing his cheeks full of seeds ... an ant laboriously carried a shell from a sunflower seed to an unknown location. Little dramas were being played out everywhere.

Each of these rather small events made me realize, once again, that our actions make a difference. We hear about the big actions ... removing wolves from an area and upsetting the balance of animal life or introducing a foreign plant to an area only to have it choke out the native plants ... but we don't often hear, or think about the little actions. Things like stepping on a bee's nest and destroying their world ... or letting our curiosity interrupt the natural life/death cycle of a bee and cicada. We don't really think about how killing a bunch of wasps changes the whole scheme of things or spraying ants destroys their world.

Everything we do has a consequence! Living an environmentally friendly life means understanding that fact and thinking about the consequences of our actions ... all of our actions, both big and small. It's not just using natural cleansers and recycling ... it's about paying attention to what we destroy when we leave the footpath and walk on plants ... or what we change when we try to free a struggling bug in a spider's web.

Today is a holiday in the U.S. Many people will be out enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer. We're going to go and have a picnic in the forest. But this time, I'll walk gently and think about my actions.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!