Small changes lead to big differences

Sometimes the problems of this world seem so huge it feels pointless to try and do anything about them. “Being part of the solution” often sounds like a feel-good phrase and actions to match it appear largely symbolic.

But, so what?

A Kenai River guide has provided inspiration to do what you can about whatever problem pulls your heartstrings. For Greg Brush of Soldotna, the issue is weak Kenai River king runs. Fishing is Brush’s passion. He’s built his livelihood as a fulltime Kenai River guide.

But last summer the weak run of kings seemed to demand more than blame someone else. Brush started looking at what he could do to strengthen the run. During the middle of last summer, he decided he wouldn’t kill any more Kenai kings if he could help it. His business, EZ Limit Guide Service, would become catch-and-release for kings.

His rule is simple: Only those kings fatally hooked while fishing are harvested, when legal. If clients agree, they book. If not, they go their separate ways.

It’s a risky business proposition, but education is a big part of Brush’s plan. When he explains what he’s doing, most people are receptive. 

Brush is realistic about what his decision means to the Kenai king run: “Is this going to make a difference in the fishery? In the run? No. Of course it isn’t. Is it a statement? Yeah, it is,” he told a Peninsula Clarion reporter.

Brush also admits that he’s not sure his new business plan is the answer, but he has some satisfaction in that it feels right — and he knows it won’t hurt.

Brush’s decision is not so unlike what the Homer Chamber of Commerce did last year when it made big changes to the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. Instead of being a big-fish-only derby, the derby’s focus was redefined to be more of a catch-and-release, tagged-fish, conservation-minded derby. It’s one way to become part of the solution to declining halibut stocks.

Maybe fishing isn’t your passion. Maybe it’s taking care of the planet. One way to do that is by helping with Saturday’s annual cleanup around town. All it takes is a little bit of your time — and you can do it anytime you have a spare few minutes.

Maybe you want to do something to help alleviate world hunger.  Giving some of your time — or money — to help your neighbors in need is a good start. The Homer Community Food Pantry could use more volunteers on Monday.

Maybe a family member or friend has just received a cancer diagnosis. Walking in Homer’s Relay for Life is a way to show your support.

Maybe you’d like to do something for all those pets in need of homes, but you can’t adopt one. You can volunteer time at the shelter.

The point, of course, is this: Doing something, however small, is always better than doing nothing at all. None of us is likely destined to change the world, but we can make our little corner of it better in dozens of ways. Don’t wait for someone else to do what you can do. There’s a lot of ways to help in Homer no matter what your skills — or passions.