This I Believe

Deborah - Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 7, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: environment

Throughout my life, my father encouraged environmental ethic and thought, especially in what he calls his sense of place. He strongly believes in knowing, understanding, and appreciating one’s surroundings to develop this sense of one’s place. He taught me to notice seemingly unimportant details and reflect upon the simplicity and complexity of life around me.

Contrary to the feelings of malcontent that occur when people are needlessly unkind to one another, when everyone gets along the company of others is quite enjoyable. I know that only I can ultimately control my own happiness, but having a supporting community and a sense of place can greatly improve one’s quality of life, health, and well-being.

This notion that life could certainly be better than it presently is for everyone has motivated me to study the environment. Our current accepted lifestyles of consumption-based happiness are superficial and hollow. People tend to trust ingenious inventions of the future to solve the world’s problems, but relying on things that do not yet exist is a fundamentally risky decision, especially when every new environmental solution has its own set of costs and limitations. I feel that by studying the natural environment and the built environment, and subsequently integrating them, I can help build sustainable communities that bid inhabitants to strive for environmental health and longevity, peace, understanding, and fulfillment.

My greatest and perhaps only real fear is drying up. The fear encompasses physical dehydration but also mental, spiritual, and emotional parchedness. I go to great lengths to avoid drying up; this usually involves nearly drowning myself. Nearly drowning happens when I try to experience everything, to learn new things and to keep life dynamic and intriguing. It has pushed my maximum stress capacity to the limits; these limits often bring me the deepest feelings of satisfaction and contentedness. Water, its symbiosis to life, and subsequently all other aspects of the planet have been subject to my close scrutiny. I will never dry up when I am in and among the natural world.

I believe that our natural world, the only thing that can quench my thirst, is in danger of drying up at our current rate of resource depletion and degradation. If future generations are denied the opportunity to live their lives in a natural setting, or if natural settings should be denied existence by our present state of consumption, then the world will be a terrible defunct place. I believe that if I were to dedicate my life to anything other than the preservation of the Earth through practice and education, I would be unfulfilled, empty, and squandering my capacity.