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Lions Roar : July 2013
mother would. If Mel crept up to his nest at night and made whim- pering sounds, Spindle reached out and drew him in. They slept curled up together. When Mel begged, whimpering with his hand out, Spindle would share his food. And most dramatic of all, Spin- dle protected Mel. Adolescent males tend to be scapegoats. If one male is being dominated by another, he takes it out on somebody lower ranking, so the adolescents keep out of the way in times of social excitement. And the mother’s job is to keep her infant away, but of course, Little Mel didn’t have a mother, so Spindle took that job on, even though it meant that he himself often got bashed by the adult male. There is no question that Spindle saved Mel’s life. What do you see as the most important thing individuals can do to effect positive change for the environment? The most important thing we can do is remember that every single day every single one of us makes a difference. And we all can choose the kind of difference we’re going to make. It does require becoming a little aware about what we buy. Where does it come from? How was it grown? Did it involve the use of child slave labor or chemical pesticides? And then there’s all the little ways in which you interact with the environment. Do you bother to help a sick dog? Do you respond to appeals for help when somebody is in trouble? The big problem today is that so many people feel insignifi- cant. They feel that the problems facing the world are so huge that there’s nothing they can do, so they do nothing. And as an individual maybe there really isn’t that much, but when you get thousands, and then millions, of individuals all doing the best they can every day for the environment and for other beings, then you get huge change. Can you give Shambhala Sun readers some concrete examples of taking small steps to effect change? There’s one man who moved to Japan, where he likes to walk in the woods. But sometimes there are violent storms and these little tiny tree orchids get blown down. Wanting to save them, he began taking the blown-down orchids home and looking after them. Now when the season is right, he gets as far up a tree as he can and staples them there with a stapler and they grow back. It’s a simple thing, but it’s rather charming. Another example, I went into a radio station in Canada and in the studio waiting room I saw there were about six potted plants dotted around. They were all dying because they hadn’t been watered. So I made a huge thing about it. Then when I went back a year later, all the plants were very healthy. So little things like that make a difference. Just never blame somebody. I mean, I didn’t say to the people at the radio station, “Who’s responsible for this monstrous behavior toward the plants?” I just said, “Oh, these poor little plants. Please can you find me some water? I want to look after them.” It’s all a question of how you go about trying to create change. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 25