Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 4 Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 4 (10 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   15 comments

General News

The world needs more hummingbird environmentalists

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 4   Inspiring 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/23/12

- Advertisement -

The world needs more hummingbird environmentalists
Any effort, however small, helps
by Andrea Koehle Jones

Because I run an environmental charity, people often assume I am a hard core environmentalist, militantly preaching and living green. I'm not. Like most people, I sometimes feel overwhelmed thinking about all the problems in the world, and sometimes get bogged down by environmental doom and gloom. After all, it can be hard to see what one person or family can really do to help. Still, I firmly believe that doing one small thing today can make a difference.

I first heard the hummingbird fable from Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. It's a beautiful story about a massive forest fire and the courageous efforts of a tiny hummingbird.

All the animals in the forest watched a huge forest fire getting bigger and bigger. They felt so overwhelmed and powerless, except for a little hummingbird. It said, "I'm going to do something about the fire."

The little hummingbird flew to the closest stream, scooped-up a drop of water and put it on the huge fire. Then she went back to the stream and did it again. She kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched, some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it's only a drop of water, you can't put out this fire."

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird's efforts, the hummingbird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then an elephant shouted out to the hummingbird in a mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing the best I can."

The collective impact of one small thing 
It's not hard to be a hummingbird environmentalist. This week for example I thought, "What's one thing I can I do differently? " I decided to take the kids to the store but instead of driving, as we usually do, we bicycled. At first I didn't feel like it, but we ended-up having a really great time.

Forty percent of all trips are made within two miles of home. If individuals and families choose to bike or walk to work, or to make fewer shopping trips each week, they could really help the planet (and their wallet).  If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year (Source: The Sierra Club, Pedaling to Prosperity).  And if people all over the world chose to leave the car at home and walk or bike just once a week, the impact would be even more powerful.

- Advertisement -

Become a Hummingbord Environmentalist
For me, the key to being a Hummingbird Environmentalist is not immersing oneself in environmental politics. It is about having an open heart, thinking beyond yourself, and being willing to try something new -- even fun -- once in a while. We can all do one thing better. Here are three ideas that I hope get you inspired.

-       Incorporate public transit into your next family outing -- if your kids are like mine, they will love the chance to take the bus or train

-       Make a hummingbird craft with your kids -- it's a  great way to share the hummingbird fable and show them that anyone, no-matter how small, can help make the world a better place:

-       Plant a tree:  Spend $5 to have a tree given to a child through the Love Trees children's tree planting and environmental education program

Andrea Koehle Jones is the executive director of The ChariTREE Foundation and Love Trees, the author of the children's book The Wish Trees, and a Hummingbird Environmentalist.

- Advertisement -

Journalist, author of The Wish Trees and founder of two children's environmental education and tree planting organizations: Love Trees ( and The ChariTREE Foundation (

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The world needs more hummingbird environmentalists

Hopeless in Hopenhagen

How to Green your Christmas tree


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
6 people are discussing this page, with 15 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

and precisely what we need to do. I intend to... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:49:04 PM
Thanks Daniel - I agree, I think it's in the natur... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 8:56:01 AM
Keep up the good work.... by Sister Begonia on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:54:02 PM
Thank you Sister Begonia.... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 8:52:23 AM
Loved this article.... by Burl Hall on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 3:43:35 AM
Thanks so much Burl!... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 8:49:19 AM
Are undone each day oil companies and manufacturin... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 12:26:20 PM
We are dying on the vine. You have the water we so... by Kim Cassidy on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 12:35:32 PM
Sadly being "exhausted, unappreciated, and feeling... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 9:11:44 AM
Currently, I'm living in the Netherlands. Here, bi... by Tommy Wright on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 2:18:08 AM
Since we are expecting a baby soon, I'm also being... by Tommy Wright on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 2:20:36 AM
"The fire rages on, and we hummingbirds are doing ... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 9:30:45 AM
I take a taxi a couple times a month, take the bus... by Kim Cassidy on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 3:49:19 AM
"A great "hummingbird" gesture would be to get to ... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 9:33:46 AM
Good point Swamper. I was in Copenhagen for the 20... by Andrea Koehle Jones on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 9:25:19 AM