A caring Waitsfield book reader took the time out of her day to stop by The Valley Reporter offices with a copy of Stephen Hawking’s new book “Brief Answers to the Big Questions.”

She wanted to share one particular paragraph and read it aloud from the late scientist’s last work.

“It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics. Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years, and I’m happy if I have made a contribution. One of the great revelations of the space age has been the perspective it has given humanity on ourselves. When we see the Earth from space, we see ourselves as a whole. We see the unity, and not the divisions. It is such a simple image with a compelling message; one planet, one human race.”

She was moved to tears and said it moved her every time she read it – and she’d read it to a few people.

One of the most common reactions of astronauts who see Earth from space are expressions of awe and reverence at its beauty and the recognition that it is the single home for all of us, regardless of our nationality. It’s the home to all of our water and our air and the flora and fauna. The concept of one planet, one human race is about more than the idea that we’re all in this together (and we certainly are). It’s also about the idea of thinking globally – and its corollary – acting locally.

There’s so much we can do locally to make small changes that can cause bigger changes further up the food chain, if enough of us make them. Whether we make those small changes by lessening our carbon footprint or volunteering at the food shelf or campaigning to get people elected to office or by donating to the Mad River Valley Interfaith Council’s annual Thanksgiving basket food drive, we can make a difference.

This annual effort epitomizes how community members should take care of each other, regardless of race, creed or religion, carrying out the tenets of all the world’s major religions (and basic human kindness) to be kind to each other and feed the hungry.

Happy Thanksgiving!