February 9, 2019

Individual Actions Matter Because Little Things Yield Big Results

A giant sequoia cone and seeds that I collected when we lived in the west coast 
rain forest. Canadian one dollar coin (Loonie) for scale.

Far too often I hear that there is no use what each of us does individually when it comes to tackling the big challenges currently facing us. Forget even trying to live simply and sustainably because it won't make a stitch of difference in making anything better.

I call BS on that.

How many times do we need to be reminded of how little things can yield big results? One more, perhaps, so here I go.

I do believe that all big things first germinated as little ones, as I believe that all the small efforts that we make as individuals can grow into something large and beautiful. 

I was reminded of this fact a few years ago when Linda and I where living in the temperate rain forest of Vancouver Island. Any time we went anywhere we would look for big trees, and there were many. 

The biggest were the giant sequoias. 

One summer day while walking in downtown Victoria, we paused in the shade of one such magnificent tree, and I noticed something I had never seen before - a giant sequoia cone. I took one home.

We were fascinated by how small the cone was, given that the tree it came from was massive. In their native land in the mountains of California, sequoias grow to become the largest trees on Earth. All from a little cone.

When we got home we put the cone on a table. The next morning we saw that a change had occurred overnight. When we brought the cone home it was a tight, smooth bark-like ball. Overnight it had opened up, and what had fallen out? A bunch of impossibly tiny seeds (and we thought the cone was small).

General Sherman Tree - largest tree in the world,
and it started with one of those little seeds.
It boggled the mind. In each of those teeny, tiny, teensy seeds was the potential to grow the largest tree on the planet. Such a tree could live to see 3000 years, and grow to the height of a 26 story building. 

In the beginning, it is all contained in a very small, seemingly insignificant seed.

I can hear the doubters telling an ambitious, but small, sequoia seed not to bother because nothing it could do could possibly amount to anything. 


Tell that to the General Sherman Tree, currently the official largest tree in existence anywhere in the known Universe.

How can we tell how our individual actions will impact the world around us? We can't. 

However, I am not about to let a bunch of downer doubters limit all the possibilities and potentialities down to one possible outcome, that being "nothing will change".

I am convinced that each of our decisions, actions and behaviours is a very little seed that has the potential to grow into something much, much larger. 

I believe that each little thing I do has limitless potential to grow into something huge, because little things yield big results all the time.


  1. Anonymous2/09/2019

    Seeds are so magical! I've been growing oat grass for my indoor cats this winter, and am always thrilled when the seeds germinate and start popping up. Truly amazing. I'll again grow some of our veg this summer, each year learning more and each year harvesting more food. Little steps... Other small steps we have taken are to have reusable bags with us at the grocery store, including cloth bags to bring home fruit/veg in as well as bulk food like rice. And this may sound crazy but we "made" our own Yahtzee game to play to get us through the dark winter days - took some scrap paper as our game cards, and used dice we had in other games. My sweetie and I have spent many a cold evening playing Yahtzee and enjoying each other's company. Thanks for such a lovely post, its good to be reminded how little things can make a difference. -- Mary

  2. It is always through the small things that big things come to pass. We have two sequoias planted in our yard one front and one back. I am sure the city will take the front one down in time but the back one will tell tales for generations.


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