In last Friday’s Berkshire Eagle, I happened to see a short letter to the editor. Six sentences total, it read, essentially, “In honor of Earth Day, please join me in picking up litter.”

I have fond memories of trash pick-up adventures with my dad when I was a little girl; he and I pulling a red wagon full of old beer and soda cans behind us, up Pangburn Road. It was the ’70’s, the era of Woodsy the Owl and ‘Give a hoot! Don’t pollute!’. That national campaign succeeded in forming the anti-littering habits of me and so many others. Likewise, last week’s one short letter to the editor succeeded in getting me out the door, with a trash bag in hand, last Friday afternoon, with Smitty by my side.

Granted, we made a miniscule dent in the outrageous amount of trash I see locally along Berkshire roads these days, but in that small stretch of path that we covered in 25 minutes, we made a difference. Yesterday, when we returned to the same spot, I could still see the difference. And it felt good.

I can’t clean the Berkshires of every bit of trash (and even if I could, it would begin to return immediately). Lord knows, I can’t stop pollution or the world’s love affair with plastic or fossil fuels or cheap household goods or deforestation or power or corruption or disinformation… We are, in fact, powerless to completely stop much of what is destroying our country and our planet right now. And yet, we are not powerless. If there are 11 people with trash bags for every 10 thoughtless litterers, or 11 people willing to fight for green energy for every 10 climate deniers, we’re still ahead. That goes for anything we want to change. Every little bit – our little bit – matters.

Don’t be fooled. The brief letter to the editor, the single bag of trash picked up, the one kind word, the five minutes of meditation…It all matters. It all makes a difference. Keep caring. Keep showing up. One bag of trash at a time.