Last week, I took Buster to an off-leash trail not far from our house. Usually, he does really great off-leash: He comes when called and pretty much stays on the trail the whole way. This day was different, though. It was a new trail to both of us, and I didn't know that on the other side of the fence lived what seemed like hundreds of prairie dogs, proudly standing atop the holes in the ground that lead to their homes. Buster actually saw them beyond the fence before I did, and off he went under the railing, running from mound to mound trying to play with (I mean catch) anything that moved. It was like a real life whack-a-mole but with Buster playing the part of the malett bounding between mounds, and bunnies and prairie dogs playing the part of the mole bouncing across the field or diving into their deep, dark homes. Luckily he didn't catch anything and nothing attacked him, but by the time I got him onto his leash, the sweater he was wearing was full of prickly burrs. We came home and I was so anxious and exhausted from the whole ordeal that decided not to deal with cleaning his sweater right away, so I threw it in the corner and there it sat until today.
Thursdays are usually my catch-up day around the house, so this morning I took a look at the bur-filled, muddy sweater and decided that it was time to take care of it. My first thought was that I should probably just throw it away and get him a new sweater since it seemed daunting to try to remove all the burrs (I mean, there seemed to be thousands of them..), and the sweater wasn't handmade or sentimental so why bother. But then I caught myself. The sweater was salvageable, all it would take would be my time and energy to make the sweater wearable again. Reluctantly, I grabbed the sweater and headed outside to begin picking all the burrs out of the fibers. Around minute 15 of this process, I realized that what I was doing was actually me saving this sweater from a landfill. It made me think of all the little things we all can do to contribute to a more sustainable world, which includes reducing waste and taking that little bit of extra time to mend something. This little task might not seem like it would make a big dent in contributing to sustainability, but every little bit does help.
I share all of this to try to bring awareness around your day. Today, my day feels rewarding and successful because of something small, and I'd say that's a pretty good day. I know I'm not transforming the world's problems with one sweater at this moment, but I am shifting my awareness of how I am contributing to changing our world, and I hope that by reading this you will be thinking about your impact too. It's the small things that can sometimes help us stay focused on the larger picture without losing hope or feeling overwhelmed. So take pride in anything you do day-by-day that contributes in a positive way to the world, your local community, or even simply your family. Even the smallest of things keeps the sustainability ball rolling, and the world will be a better and healthier place because of the little things we all do.