At the Green Ninja Project we were recently asked, “How do you reconcile the enormity of the climate change problem with the relatively small efforts that each person is able to make to help address it?” That is a great question.
It made us think of the Starfish Story. In this story, a child, faced with thousands of stranded starfish on the beach, stoops down to pick one up and save it by throwing back into the ocean. The adult nearby says, “Don’t you see this is an impossible task? There are too many starfish – you can’t possibly save them all.” The child looks at the starfish in his hand and replies, “Yes, but I can make a difference for this one.” He throws it as far as he can back into the water, inspiring others around him to do the same, and thus saving all the starfish.
I recently met a starfish thrower in my neighborhood named Hunter Flynn. Armed with his degree in Economics, he took some time off after college to work on a WWOOF farm in Colima, Mexico and study for a time in India and China, even encountering the Dalai Lama along the way. When he returned home he wanted to do something that would help make the world a better place. So he started his own business, run entirely from his bicycle. At “Minus the Gas, Sustainable Lawn Care” he commutes to his clients’ homes via bicycle, pulling all of his tools in a trailer that was designed and built by his friend at Kick Trailer using only recycled materials. Hunter uses no gas-powered tools, preferring to use a quiet and energy-efficient lithium-ion battery-powered leaf blower and a mechanical push mower.
“I looked around and saw that many gardeners were spending a lot of money on gas, driving all over the area for different jobs,” Hunter told me. “And I thought, what if I didn’t use any gas? I could offer better prices, and I could drastically reduce my business’s carbon footprint at the same time.”
Could he make more money by scaling up with a big staff and a fleet of trucks? Sure. But, he says, ”That’s not the point.” His goal: a sustainable business that serves his local community, and the planet, for the long term. One sustainable business = lots of starfish. A big Green Ninja thumbs-up to Hunter Flynn. He’s making a difference.
–Julie Noblitt, Green Ninja Team