The Power of One by Ann Butts

As Americans, we spend a lot of time thinking up reasons to celebrate and mark important issues by naming a cornucopia of “national days.”   A few examples are March 4th, National Pound Cake Day, June 1st, National Go Barefoot Day, and August 2nd, National Coloring Book Day, Some named days may seem frivolous and some of high importance like November 15th - National Recycling Day.

Coming up with and sharing national days can be fun and informative.  But, is recognizing pound cake as important as recognizing the importance of recycling?  It could be said that tens of thousands of people celebrate national pound cake day; from individuals to restaurants, to manufacturers.  They do it to bring recognition (and sales) to pound cakes.  Imagine how much attention could be given to recycling and protecting the environment if we all chose to announce and promote national recycling day.

National Recycling Day and National Recycling Week just passed in November. But we don’t need these designations to start a recycling program of our own.

Many people think, “I’m only one person, I can’t make a difference.” Each of us can make a huge difference over a lifetime if we choose a recycling plan for just one thing. The Kirkbride family of Springfield, Mo. receives a large amount of cardboard packages each week due to a family business.  They chose to recycle paper and cardboard with their local trash company even though they pay extra for this service. 

One person can use up to 749 pounds of paper products a year. It takes approximately half a tree to make 20 pounds of paper.  Who wouldn’t want to save a whole tree by recycling just 40 pounds of paper products?

One individual can also make a difference by inspiring others.  Joyce Haynes, an artist from Pineville, Mo recycles numerous items; paper, aluminum, glass, plastic and clothes. 

“Before I throw anything away, I think, is there another use for this item?  I make a lot of art with Paper Mache and always use all kinds of packing paper or gift wrap that I have saved for a second life!”

Joyce continues to inspire others to recycle with her art.  She turns catalogs she receives into beautiful journals. 

“I just cover the pages with reused tissue or newsprint and I have a book format, ready to fill!” (See Photo)

The power of one is real when it comes to recycling. When just one person acts proactively toward sustainability, it has a positive impact on others who may be considering it but have yet to commit.

Our earth is changing. The National Climate Assessment that came out last week contains some scary language, “Global climate is changing and this change is apparent across a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities.”  If we are causing climate change, it should follow that we are the answer to fixing it.

Don’t wait until the next declared National Recycling Day to make your own commitment. Choosing to recycle is the beginning of changing our human activities that contribute to global warming. Make a commitment today to doing just one thing to recycle.  Mother Earth and our grandchildren will thank you.




Posted on November 27, 2018 .