The Hummingbird by Si Scott

It’s a tough time in nutrition school right now. A whole group of health oriented positive thinkers are being exposed to some hard realities about the industry which we are entering into as professionals.

We are studying nutritional literature research, which, among many great tips on sourcing citations and the credibility of studies, holds a lot of depressing information, most of which I knew only at a surface level. The Canada Food Guide’s advisory committee includes reps from the B.C Dairy Foundation and Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada, which represents some of the biggest processed food companies in the country. Studies that showed dairy helps people lose weight were funded by … dairy and agriculture. As it turns out, some ‘studies’ published in highly reputed scientific journals are essentially mere advertising dressed up to look like a fancy article, a sad yet unsurprising fact that can be unearthed by simply reading the small print – if your eyes can read that tiny, near illegible text.

So the whole country is being told what to eat by the companies that profit upon the purchase of those exact foods? Shit doggy, that sucks.

It’s all rather discouraging. What can we trust? Who is actually telling the truth? What’s fanaticism and what’s genuine, truthful whistle blowing? Being the sensitive girl I am, I’m susceptible to being weighed down by such realities, going deep in my head and questioning everything I come into contact with, ad nauseam.

I am, however, keeping my head on straight. There are a lot of scary things happening in the world right now, but fear is not going to do anything to create more peace, or hotness.

So I thought I’d share a little story with you today which our teacher shared with us when she sensed the growing cloud of doom over our heads. It’s the story of the hummingbird, and a reminder that you can rest peacefully when you know you’re doing your best.

To me, it’s how all of us who want to help save the world – even in some small way – can find peace… which is not an easy thing to find when you want to save the world.

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest – a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can’t put out this fire.”

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?” And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.”

Thanks to who shared this story via Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai when she addressed 7,000 international educators who had gathered in Montreal for NAFSA’s 58th annual conference.

Thanks to everyone of you who is doing what they can.



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