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  • David C. Mahood

One Green Deed Spawns Another

Imagine if one green deed or concept could motivate a person to adopt it and pass it on to another person. It dawned on me that these green deeds are taking place, minute-by-minute, daily, annually, and for lifetimes, enacted by noted environmentalists as well as people toiling in relative anonymity. It also dawned on me that throughout my environmental journey to becoming a sustainability consultant and writer, I’ve met a number of these people. I determined that my green deed should be to share these unique motivators with anyone who would listen or read, in my case. Three years ago, I embarked on a quixotic adventure to hear from them one more time and ask them each if they had one green deed that they would like to see heeded, adopted, and passed on, what would It be and why?


My book, One Green Deed Spawns Another, is a compilation of these interviews with a dozen of my environmental heroes. All of whom had inspired me at one point over a twenty-year period. From 87-year-old ecologist and climate scientist, Dr. George M. Woodwell, to high school friend, Tom Herlihy, the worm concierge as his daughter affectionately refers to him, to Frances Moore Lappé, prolific writer, social activist, and food and hunger expert, I’ve heard from some tireless advocates for sustainability and the environment. We are all motivated to protect our planet and its inhabitants by a range of factors, including love, as it turns out. Jean Beasley protects sea turtles, as a kept promise to her gravely ill daughter. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, founded in 1997, has rescued and rehabilitated over 500 sea turtles, all as a volunteer-based and funded operation. A trip to the hospital is an unforgettable experience complete with sea turtles, mostly, loggerheads, that recognize Jean’s voice and pop their massive heads out of their tanks, when she looms nearby. Barbara Filippone has been developing natural fiber products for over thirty years and is one of the primary reasons that fine hemp apparel can be found in the United States. Elaine Ireland educated commercial designers about the perils of chemicals found in interior paints, sealants, and finishes, way back in the 1990’s, having been diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivities years before. Dr. Mark Westneat, a fellow graduate of the College of Wooster, has become a noted researcher, and educator on the changing patterns of our oceans as a result of overfishing, pollution, and climate change. He has seen, firsthand, bleached coral reefs, which he characterizes as “dead stretches of concrete with sparse algae on top.”


The overwhelming sense of helplessness affects many of us who are not climatologists or ecologists, as profoundly as if we were. No one wants to leave a diminished planet to their progeny; no one wants to inhale the last clean breath of air. If that is the case then we are all environmental activists in concept. We are all bound together in spirit. One green deed

multiplies exponentially once we recognize that. Instead of denial, debate, and defeat, we’ll feel the onrush of collaboration and goodwill. I’ll start by sharing the story behind my environmental journey and perhaps that’s all I can give to this movement but if that’s the case, it may be just enough to spawn another green deed.


Photo Credit: Fred Palmer, Courtesy of Woods Hole Research Center


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