Chapter Eight in which Hippo and Al uncover a magical tipping point

At Al’s suggestion, we started looking for good news and solutions. We discovered that it’s not just one hippo and one bird at all.

It is also millions of extraordinary, ordinary humans in tens of thousands of transformative movements all over the world, doing the best they can to pass on a beautiful world to future generations.

“Grassroots movements!” Al squawked, flapping his wings excitedly, “Named after the deep, durable grass roots right here on the savanna.”

Caught up in the excitement, and perhaps a little envious of Al’s extraordinary insight, I got carried away. “With my considerable poundage added to the other movements, we are sure to tip the scales in our favor,” I boasted.

Al said this was not the case. “It’s not the size of your body that counts,” he said. “It’s your pluck and determination.”

I remembered Mahatma Gandhi, that skinny little human who led one of the most successful grassroots movements of all time, and knew Al was right.

But, in my defense, we had just started reading The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. I had pictured myself on a balance scale, my side way down and the other way up in the air. Foolish, I know. The tipping point turned out to be “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

“With so many humans trying to preserve and restore the health of the Earth, why does it feel like there’s a herd of elephants on the other side?” we wondered.

“Hippo,” said Al breathlessly. “It must be a giant.”