Never Stop Caring

Never Stop Caring

Actions today might have impact around the world

Making Ripples

Beware of the finish line: graduations, retirement, the end of a project or even the end of life. Celebrate all you want, but never trust those endings. Once, I thought we were done building our greywater garden’s borders – until they magically disintegrated! The native shrubs and milkweed were planted, and rocks from the site were placed around the perimeter to hold the mulch in place. Those “rocks” proved to be clay soil lumps that turned into dirt. Now we have temporary paving stones in place over a weed barrier to keep the grass out.

An upcoming graduation can fool a student into mentally checking out of their soon-to-be alma mater before they even get their diploma. The approach of retirement does not mean that one has nothing to contribute to the workplace anymore. The finish line at the final stages of a project can be a mirage; don’t give up and drop out of the race too soon. Even the final years of one’s life, if experienced in good health and consciousness, are not the end of making ripples.

The graduate, the retiree, the elder all built up experiences in their many years of study and service to their field. For that reason, the end is absolutely the worst time to stop contributing. If you want to contribute, but feel like the world has changed or you’re moving on, it’s OK. That’s natural. When we are at our most powerful and knowledgeable place at the end of a chapter in life, we are at our highest potential to contribute to the world. But we may also be vulnerable, and buy into stories that make us feel outdated, useless and done. If that’s where you’re at, save your money and ponder the vast mystery of interdependence for a moment.

I don’t know it yet, but I am probably dependent on something you did in the past or will do today or maybe tomorrow. We’re all interconnected with each other and our environment. A sustainable lifestyle is about metaphorical time travel: How will my actions today impact the next generations? For me personally, I check myself whenever I think that some catastrophe will happen after I’m dead and therefor has nothing to do with me. Am I contributing to that catastrophe? If so, I plan to quit and take baby steps toward reducing harm. On the other hand, maybe I’m uniquely positioned to offer knowledge or resources. If so, I plan to first listen to the needs of others who may not be as privileged and contribute everything I can.

A lizard on a wall somewhere on the other side of the world — like this Cuban brown anole in New Orleans — might be impacted by something you do today.
(Courtesy Photo/Beth Paxton)

We’re all interdependent and affecting each other up to and including our last conscious action. I bet there’s a gecko on somebody’s wall halfway around the world that was impacted by something I did 10 years ago! We may not feel like we have a dog in the fight for the future, but we always do. If we have ever loved someone — our dogs included — or cared about what happens on the other side of the planet or within the earth itself, then the future is still our fight. Vote. Help. Love. Do what you can do best, regardless of whether you are at the end or the beginning. Geckos everywhere will thank you!

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

Categories: Making Ripples