The Quotidian, July 18, 2010 ~ Making a Difference

“One makes the difference.” – Julia Butterfly Hill (born February 18, 1974)

This quotation is from One Makes the Difference: Inspiring Actions That Change Our World (2002) , a lovely and optimistic – and necessary – book Julia Butterfly Hill and Jessica Hurley wrote during a very dark time in our (American) history. 

Transformation begins with one person: one person taking a step; one person lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness; one person making a stand.

Transformation begins with one person conducting a “tree sit” in a circa 1000-year-old redwood for one day and then for 737 more days to prevent it from being cut down. Julia Butterfly Hill conducted her tree sit in the redwood Luna from late December 1997 to late December 1999.

I am in awe of Julia Butterfly Hill. I met her at her reading for One Makes a Difference in Bellingham, Washington back in 2003. She opened with a comment about the clearcuts she had seen upslope from Lake Samish and further north on her way up I-5 to Bellingham.

She was radiant and smiling, and I recall a lovely reading. I remember standing in line to talk with her, watching her give a succession of women hugs and feeling so envious of those women! I was suddenly conscious of being a man and some 14 years older than her; all I wanted was to give her a great big hug and thank her for her work. I became shy, and stopped at “Thank you so much for your work.” She is a genuine, gracious person.

In One Makes a Difference, Hill and Hurley use a famous quote of Gandhi’s:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948). Gandhi was also known as the Mahatma (“Great Soul”). Assassinated.

We begin the process of transformation when we commit ourselves to transformation and being that transformation.

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Activism, The Quotidian, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Quotidian, July 18, 2010 ~ Making a Difference

  1. Janet O says:

    Nice blog. Love your masthead. All the best.

  2. Hi Janet. Thank you very much for your kind comment! Blessings, Andy

  3. C. R. Lanei says:

    First off, loving the blog Andy!

    Second, I promise I won’t make every comment relate back to Robert Sapolsky. However, he gave a fantastic lecture about the uniqueness of humans and ends on a note that: the thing that makes us truly unusual and unique is that it is the impossible that we are compelled to make truth. In other words, the more impossible the task the more essential that we do it. Which I think relates to why one person can make a difference, it is so highly improbable and yet we see it all around us.

    Here’s the lecture in case you were interested: http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_sapolsky_the_uniqueness_of_humans.html

  4. Hi C.R., thank you so much for your comment about my blog. I am really enjoying this also.

    I appreciate your thoughtful and even scholarly comments! Oh, and THAT is a supreme compliment!

    No worries. Each time you mention Robert Sapolsky’s book, it moves up my reading list!

    Concerning your comment “Which I think relates to why one person can make a difference, it is so highly improbable and yet we see it all around us” – so true! I believe that we aren’t taught or don’t learn this essential truth about one person or a small group of people being able to change something – or the world – until we are older or if ever.

    In college, where was that “Transformation 101” course?

    Thanks again for your comments; I appreciate and enjoy them.

    Blessings, Andy

    • C. R. Lanei says:

      Transformation 101, hah! Love that. For me that has been getting in way over my head by taking classes I’m terrible at and reading the books that were recommended but not required for the courses. I could whine all day long about the B I received in the class I should have received an A in (no really, the teacher was horrible and everyone got a grade that was a whole point lower than they had expected). But I’m pretty proud of my Cs because I actually learned about things I had not even imagined. The main shame of college now is the strategy (which I learned of toward the end) of taking only the classes that you know you’re good at so you can keep your GPA in the right range for grad school.

      We can’t really transform without the struggle.

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