Take the First Step!

Cade kayaking.jpg

"Beijing air pollution reaches hazardous levels" - US News
"Solar or Coal? The Energy India Picks May Decide Earth’s Fate" - WIRED
6th mass extinction? Humans kill species faster than they're created - Fox News
"Alarming Research Finds Humans are Using up Far More of Earth’s Water than Previously Thought" - The Washington Post
"A 2016 Rio Olympics Waterway has Levels of Viruses Akin to Raw Sewage" - Business Insider

Anyone paying attention to the news lately may feel the outlook for Earth’s environment is bleak. Working on environmental issues at an environmental non-profit, I am bombarded with it on a daily basis. Concerned citizens call and email with reports of pollution in their local waterways, national environmental organizations release reports on monumental environmental problems facing the planet, and new threats concerning the health of the Bay and our waterways are identified.

Before you know it all this doom and gloom about the environment can begin to feel overwhelming. The entirety of these challenges spread before you can be off-putting. Even for someone who works on these issues for a living, it still intimidates me at times. So what are we to do when the obstacles we face are so complex and immense?

One very simple mantra is my guide in such situations: Take the first step! Sometimes the mountains ahead of us can seem insurmountable. When we look up and see the great heights to which we will have to climb, we may feel discouraged and tempted to give up. How will I ever reach the top? I suggest you do not worry about the mountain looming above, you cannot climb it all it once anyway. Instead focus on taking the first step, then the second. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “Little by little, one travels far.”

Therefore, my challenge to you is simple. Take the first step! Pick up one piece of litter, start recycling, volunteer with Mobile Baykeeper, carpool to work. As you take each successive step you will be amazed at what will happen. Not only will you find that the actions you may have perceived as insignificant are making a big difference, you will also find that each subsequent step actually gets easier rather than harder. Once you have taken that initial step, tell a friend or family member about what you are doing and get them involved too. Working with friends is more fun than going it alone, and together you will make an even larger impact.

I am so thrilled to work at Mobile Baykeeper because we strive to empower you to take that first step. Through hosting Apple Snail round-ups and litter cleanups, fostering citizen water quality monitoring or fielding your environmental concerns, we do our best to make it exciting and easy to take that first step.

We cannot solve the world’s problems today and we cannot do it alone. However, if you take the first step and spread the word, collectively we can prevail over any challenge set before us!

Take the first step in faith, you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cade Kistler - Program Coordinator