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You’re Not Too Little and It’s Not Too Late

You’re Not Too Little and It’s Not Too Late

I could see his lip quivering as he approached the car.  A little man on a mission to make it to the backseat before anyone saw him burst into tears.  A mom knows from a mile away when something isn’t right in the afternoon parent pick up line.

He climbed in, slammed the door and slid way down in the seat.  I hit the gas for a quick get-away and he began bawling.

Before I asked what was wrong, I imagined the typical kindergarten issues that might have caused his emotions to run high.  A fight with a friend, hurt feelings, or a minor pain he had kept hidden until the safety of the car.

I pulled out of the school and found a quiet place to do a little more investigating and comforting.  Some days it’s just not easy being 6.

No matter what I tried he could not be consoled, and I was beginning to worry it might be more serious than I first suspected.

Suddenly between sobs I was able to make out one simple phrase, “I have to save the Earth” quickly followed by, “but I’m too little.”

It was a few days before Earth Day and the entire school had been preparing for special activities.  A skit by some over zealous fifth graders had painted the picture that the world was going to end if each and every student didn’t do their part.

My mini-advocate took their plea seriously and could not fathom how he, a fairly new human, could save the earth.

This was 23 years ago and I have thought of his words every subsequent Earth Day.   He may have been overwhelmed due to his age, but I have to admit with each passing year I wonder how I can do enough to make a difference in the sustainability of our planet.  I also feel too little and worry if it’s too late.  The thought of it can bring me to tears.

When I got him home, we spent some time finding tasks that he and the family could take on to help him feel inspired and hopeful rather than desperate.   We framed it in a series of questions that all these years later I try to ask myself, not just on Earth Day, but every day. They remind me that each one of us can be empowered to take on daily actions that matter:

What are my energy habits?

How do I use water?

Do I have to use my car to get where I am going?

How am I using the 3Rs:  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

None of us are too little and it’s not too late to take action.  Earth Day 2019 is Monday, April 22nd and  I would love to hear what you do everyday to care for the planet at [email protected] and please engage with us on social media this week, join the conversation.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit


Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More