Like it or not, you DO make a difference

“You are never in neutral,” TreePeople founder Andy Lipkis tells environmental leader Huey Johnson, in an interview about how we all affect the environment. “People say [to me], ‘I love what you do because you show that people can make a difference.’” The truth is, people do make a difference, Andy says. And it comes in the form of every step we take, every penny we spend, in all the ways we move through the world.

Growing up in the 1960s in a severely polluted Los Angeles, Andy realized that we have to embrace the notion that even the smallest contribution—whether planting a single tree or shutting off the tap when you brush your teeth—does make a positive difference.

Andy and Huey discuss the interdependency between trees and people in urban centers, and the quality of life in cities like Los Angeles as population increases. Listen to Andy’s message of hope based on his forty years leading TreePeople: Yes, we can—and do—choose the difference we make.

Huey D. Johnson was an early mentor to Andy in the 1970s when Andy founded the TreePeople organization. Johnson later founded Resource Renewal Institute in Northern California following his service as California Secretary of Resources in Jerry Brown’s Administration (1978–1982). His Investing for Prosperity (1981) policy was one of the state’s first comprehensive, long-term environmental plans, outlining ways of preserving, maintaining, rebuilding, and renewing natural resources to meet California’s human and economic needs.

Carolyn Gray Anderson is an editor, writer, and nonprofit communications professional in Los Angeles. She volunteers regularly with Good Karma Gardens and at the Learning Garden at Venice High School, enjoying many a meal straight from the earth. She loves TreePeople almost as much as she loves trees.