Don’t Look Away

It is hard to read about destruction, it is hard to look at images of suffering. Yet, I keep reading. Looking away and getting pulled into something else is certainly easier. And maybe someone else will actually do something. But this bystander effect means that a bloc of people who could be really effective advocates for change–at any scale–just try to keep their blinders on and continue on their path. Someone told me they just try not to think about the massive assault on biodiversity but they do work on improving their habitat near their house. And that’s vitally important.

I feel the temptation to look away, but by forcing myself to acknowledge that the plastic bag twisting in the air will end up in the waterways, and potentially in the gut of an albatross or seal or whatever marine animal, I build the necessary emotion for action. My actions are not large, and they are not much on their own, but every piece of plastic that gets picked up is one less piece of plastic in our waterways.

Here are volunteers doing vital work, cutting gorgeous gannets in sheer agony loose from plastic and synthetic materials after nesting season is over. I remember seeing gannets in Maine, beautifully large birds that turn instantly into high-speed assassins, knifing into the water with a splash that would make an Olympic diver envious.

They are glorious creatures to watch.

I will continue to look at things that are difficult, because that is fuel for action. I hope to have better ideas for environmental actions that come out of this.

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