It’s been an early spring in much of the country. Landscapes are already in full bloom, flaunting their array of leaves, buds and blossoms. After any winter, no matter how mild, spring makes us a little more thankful for the beauty of nature. With Earth Day approaching, society, too, will remind us to appreciate our planet.

In addition to highlighting the splendor of nature, many pleas for environmental action invoke a fear of the future. However, our care for the natural environment should not be motivated primarily by fear. It’s not fear of the unknown that should motivate us to make changes in life. Rather, we should be compelled by love. Attempting to make change because of fear becomes quickly overwhelming. But acting out of love is, well, a labor of love. Love should sprout gratitude for the beauty and the resources around us. Love should also sprout action. When acting out of love, the thought that, “my small contribution won’t make a difference,” fades into the background. Because efforts, large or small, are a joy and not a burden. All the effort and the unknown effects become secondary.

I recently heard a great example of this type of motivation put into action. It started with picking up trash. One day, Mark Covington noticed how much trash was on the street in his Detroit neighborhood. He loved his street. He had lived there his entire life. So, Mark began to pick up the trash. Noticing a vacant lot, he thought it would be a great place for a garden. So, he cleaned up the lot. Others joined in. They planted sunflowers to remove contamination from the soil. They planted vegetables to provide fresh produce for neighborhood, where fresh food was hard to come by. Now, they show outdoor movies on that lot to bring the neighbors together. The progression continues. And it started so small.

Mark was motivated by his love for his street. He wasn’t sitting at home watching documentaries on global warming or on the demise of the auto industry. He was motivated not by what he feared, but by what he saw. He had no grand master plan. And yet, his small steps have turned into something significant.

For more inspiration, you can hear Mark tell his story here.

Now that it’s warm enough to get outside and do something, where will you start?


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