Nature needs heroes

Dear Editor,

Professional storyteller Jim Weiss has said that “a hero is not someone who reaches a goal easily. Instead, a hero is someone who decides to pursue a worthwhile goal, knowing that the effort will be difficult or even dangerous… Human progress is built upon a step-by-step progression, as one person builds on the work of others until that goal is reached.”

As a person of faith, it is a matter of loving the environment and the creation we are privileged to live in here at Warren, PA, that brings me to write this editorial. We are moved to take stewardship of this amazing planet and creation we call home. We seek to nurture all the incredible beauty and diversity of the natural world, so it will last for future generations. As someone who loves the outdoors, the value of clean air and water is beyond anything that money can buy. Being in nature grounds me like nothing else. It is concerning to me to see and hear about the changes that have occurred globally just in my lifetime. I believe it is the one issue that can surpass any political boundary or ideology since it is basic science. Ignoring this issue impacts our children and future generations in ways that we can’t even imagine.

Recently, I have spent additional time trying to do what I can to have a lighter footprint on the earth.

When we moved to Warren several years ago, I was privileged to have a great job that I was able to walk to every day. The car sat in the garage as I thought about the impact I was having in protecting the environment and I was also hopefully become healthier by walking to and from work.

Over the years, I have been OK at recycling, and yet I know that is not enough. We try to not buy things that are overly packaged. We try to always buy locally but with the ease of online shopping and the boxes showing up on the porch it is hard to resist. We try to limit our water use, turn off lights, unplug electronics, use reusable bags, buy recycled whenever possible, walk to and support the farmers market, and compost for the garden pots.

But we are inconsistent humans, aren’t we! I still find myself sitting down in a restaurant for breakfast and opening the single-use plastic straw. Recently I caught myself and asked the server to please not provide me a straw. Her response was “are you trying to save a sea turtle?” I gave a positive response. She came back to the table to show me her reusable straw that she said she carries everywhere. I now purchase compostable straws for use in our home as well as a nifty metal straw I received from a local outdoor retailer for my personal use. At times I just refuse a straw and drink from the glass.

Now, are these reusable straws going to save the environment? I would venture to say no… but when we all join together and make small improvements to the footprints we will leave on this earth we do make a difference.

I believe Jim Weiss has it right when he defines a hero as someone who builds on the work of others.

I challenge each of us to “Be a nature hero.” Join with others in our unique city to make a small difference every day. As we move forward together, we could all be remembered for being heroes of the local environment.

Forward together,

Doug Hearn,