Have You Done Enough? from Les Montanjees
How often do we ask ourselves this as we contemplate yet another issue that needs a response? You’re sick of sending letters to the paper that don’t get printed, emails to MPs that get the usual response, presenting your ideas to people who don’t get it, sending donations to situations that never change.
As you eye your keyboard with weary resignation, what conflicting arguments go through your brain, presenting cogent, logical reasons why, on the one hand, this is such an important issue that it behoves you to crank yourself up for the task, but on the other hand maybe you’ve done your bit for a while and it’s someone else’s turn? How do you deal with this endless inner turmoil?
Let’s face it, campaigning about environmental issues is an endless process. For every small victory there are many more disasters looming and seemingly ever fewer willing fingers to plug the dykes. “Where are the young ones?” you cry. “Why aren’t they interested? Don’t they know? Can’t they see?” Despite your best efforts, sometimes resentment can slip under your guard and quietly suggest that maybe it’s time to give it away and just do your own thing and let the world go to buggery.
And yet, and yet, you know you won’t do that because you CARE. You LOVE. You can’t help yourself, because when you see the majesty of that sea eagle riding the westerly gale, the shy modesty of that tiny yellow flower that’s been waiting for someone to acknowledge it, or the single-minded determination of that half-blind echidna stumping through the bush, you know you can’t abandon them to the developer’s wrecking ball.
The Universe functions on energy. We are all energy with form, made from atoms that contain huge amounts of it. There’s no shortage of the stuff. So how can we tap into it when we feel energy has abandoned us? Where do we look for inspiration? Well, it’s everywhere we care to look, really. Beyond the obvious, the Bob Browns and Christine Milnes, the Rachel Carsons and David Attenboroughs, there is energy in the contemplation of those very things we love and care about – the wild creatures, the clean environment and all of the rest of it. Others, of course, don’t share that love and caring. They get their energy from other sources and they defend it with a passion that is the equal of yours and a conviction that theirs is the truth that is the equal of yours. When those two opposing forces clash, that’s a form of nuclear reaction that generates as much energy as we need to ply our arguments and fuel our campaigning.
So next time you look at that book on native birds you were planning to read this afternoon or that plant you were going to re-pot or those binoculars you were going to take for an outing, perhaps you might console yourself with the knowledge that the time you’re about to spend on the computer instead will help ensure that you and others like you can continue those activities into the future.
Perhaps the question is not so much “Have I done enough?” as “Is there more I can do?”