Be a Hummingbird Hero

Orillia’s Hummingbird Heroes 

There’s an old story told in Africa about a hummingbird and a forest fire. Alone among the animals, the hummingbird carries water in its tiny beak to help fight the fire. When the other animals point out that it is doing so little against the fire, the hummingbird replies, “I am doing the best that I can.” (See )

No one can say that our global climate hasn’t been increasingly in the news, even amidst a pandemic. More and more people are realizing that there’s no vaccine for climate change, and that, as we face down the pandemic, we are challenged to face up to an even greater threat with long-term consequences.

Orillia has some “human hummingbirds” who are stepping up to face the “forest fires” of climate change. Here are a few of them:

  • Dave got a good deal on a used electric car. He’s off gasoline-powered vehicles for good.
    Before and After
  • Christine initiated a successful waste reduction and recycling system at her multi-residential complex.
  • Mark replaced all the incandescent bulbs in his house with LED ones.
  • Jane bought some tree seedlings and delivered them, with planting instructions and some planting soil, to a local day-care school. The students planted them around their yard, marked them with flagging tape and promised to take care of them.
  • Zoe, when in grade 6, wrote a speech about pollution affecting our oceans and shared that speech with hundreds of other concerned citizens. (To hear Zoe’s speech, use this link: Since then, she’s written three more speeches on the need to change our daily habits to help our planet.
  • Nancy is weaning herself off plastic packaging. She takes cloth shopping bags everywhere, and tries to avoid food packaged in plastic. When she can, she leaves the plastic packaging with the retailer.
    Lottie, Sophie, and Baila Planting Gardens
  • Zac and some school friends started a “boomerang bag” program to fabricate re-usable shopping bags from used textiles and distribute them free-of-charge to downtown retailers. 
  • Lottie, Sophie, Baila and their classmates learned how to plant a garden at their school.

Marc Jaccard served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, teaches sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and advises governments at all levels. In his book, “The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success” (available through Manticore Bookstore in Orillia), Jaccard cuts through the clichés that dominate the current climate change debate, and offers a clear path for climate-concerned citizens to act locally while thinking globally. 

He writes that we must take individual actions and we must also speak up. “For success with the climate energy challenge,” he writes, “we must strategically focus our efforts as citizens on a few key domestic sectors (especially electricity and transportation); a few key policies (regulations and/or carbon pricing); and the identification and election of climate-sincere politicians.”

We can all be “hummingbird heroes” and just do our best. Together, what a difference we will make!


Hear Sustainable Orillia’s Gord Ball say more about Orillia’s Hummingbird Heroes here. Gord’s interview is about thirteen minutes into the segment.  

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