This I Believe

Emily - Vista, California
Entered on May 31, 2006

This I Believe… Everything Counts

I believe that every action counts. Whether it’s throwing away a stray piece of trash or campaigning to protest a belief, we all can make some sort of impact on this world.

I suppose I can credit my determination and optimism to my parents, who, for as long as I can remember instilled in me, the important fact that I am capable. As a female, I am capable of making a statement; as an individual, I am capable of pursuing my principles, and most importantly, as a young adult I am capable of shaping my future.

My generation seems to be tainted with a pessimistic outlook that can be seen in a political sense, by the low number of young voters. But in my opinion, politics is not the area of major concern. It is our fundamental foundation that is being neglected. The environment can use any help it can get. For every person who tosses their water bottle, thinking one piece of plastic won’t hurt, I roam the beach with a bag in hand, picking up what these people leave behind. With thousands of miles of littered shoreline, and only my two hands to make a difference, it is easy to feel hopeless. But for every tangled fishing line I pick up, I remember the day I changed the heartbreaking fate of one of the many creatures who fall victim to our bad habits, and it was then that I believed every helping action is worth any positive outcome that results, despite how small of an impact it makes.

It was sunny day in Carlsbad, and a crowd of beachgoer’s attention was on a pelican who slowly hobbled its way over a jetty, unable to fly because it was wrapped in fishing line with a hook lodged in its throat. As everyone watched, many felt sorry for the animal, but no one took action. So I did. And with the help of a friend, we caught the terrified bird and managed to untangle him. I watched the pelican regain composure while excitedly stretching his wings and he eventually flew off.

So I saved the life of just one of the hundreds of birds at this beach, but it was a start. And to the little boy who ran and found me a pair of scissors, I know he will go on to save another creature’s life. Whether he does it indirectly, by recycling the plastic 6-pack soda rings, or actually physically rescuing another animal, my help plus his help, equals a little impact. And on a whole, if everyone pitches in a little, just to conserve water, reduce harmful emissions, or recycle used materials, a world of a difference can be made, because true to my belief… every action counts.