I am the mother of two amazing little ones, a 7 year-old, compassionate, old-soul and a meticulous, thoughtful 5 year-old. They have an incredible power to rapidly change me. They can make me laugh, cry, play, act silly, worry, rethink everything, and every now and then raise my voice (despite my best efforts to remain level-headed). Mostly though, they amaze me with the way they think, the things they learn, and how they love. These two are full of compassion, not just for each other, family and friends, but for all living things. The coolest part about how they love is their desire to help and make things better. They are small but powerful people.
For as long as I can remember the month of April has made me think about the earth, this planet that supports life of all kinds and provides essential resources. I ponder the impact I make, good and bad, and commit to do more. As a mother, my April reflections have expanded. Now more than ever, I think about how we will leave this planet for our kids, the next generations who care so much and love so deeply.
This morning I asked them why they think Earth Day is important. The youngest, hair in every direction and still in his jammies, rubbed his sleepy eyes and said, “It’s our planet, Mom. I don’t want it to die.” The other had to think about it. After school, she announced that Earth Day reminds us that our planet allows us to “grow fruits and vegetables, provides places for animals to live, and we need to take care of it so it doesn’t turn into a garbage dump.”
In one spin around the sun, the earth endures so many changes. Some of the changes are barely noticeable; others are dramatic, but most appear gradual in our busy lives until you look up and the result is suddenly right there in front of you. It can be overwhelming and seem insurmountable to each of us, individually. What can one person do to make a positive impact on the earth?
When I ask these little ones what they think we can do to make the world a better place, they always turn to what they can do. “I will pick up that litter.” “I will recycle.” “I will turn off the water while I brush my teeth.” “I will tell my friends we need to protect people and animals.” They believe they can make a difference and expect others to do the same. Their perspective is worth a deeper look. If we all take action, big or small, we can make a difference in our little corner of the world. Everyone doing their part adds up to real, positive impact around the globe. Earth Day comes around just like our planet circling the sun to remind us of that.
At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, we provide opportunities for those who love Southwest Florida to support and realize positive, regional change around their cause. My cause is undoubtedly Southwest Florida’s environment – the earth. This April, the Foundation launched the Fund for the Environment and, to get it started, we’re crowdfunding for it. That means that anyone can provide a donation, big or small, to be part of something bigger for the region and the planet, just in time for Earth Day.
Whether you decide to give or to do something that will help preserve our environment, please know that every action matters, and we can all start with one thing to make the next spin around the sun a better one for the earth and all its inhabitants, especially the littlest ones.
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.