The walls of Mrs. Bell’s eighth grade science class at Wayside Middle School were papered with posters designed to inspire our impressionable minds beyond what boy we had a crush on that week. I suppose Mrs. Bell succeeded, because, lo’ these many years since I left Saginaw, Texas, one of those posters stayed with me. In bold white letters across a picture of a verdant rain forest, the poster read, Good Planets are Hard to Find.
Think about that for a second.
There is no other place out there that can sustain the diversity of life that thrives here on Earth.
I didn’t set out to be an environmentalist, and I’m not one in the purest sense. I’ve got a long way to go to be considered a bunny-hugger. But, I found myself drawn to parks, open spaces, working lands and their importance to the functioning of our minds, bodies, souls and cities through a series of professional choices that have led me to where I am today.
I think of those words on that poster daily as I work to conserve land so that people can enjoy nature even in densely populated urban cores…so that I can buy a tomato that tastes like a tomato at a local market…so that my nephew will get out from in front of the computer and discover a magical real world right outside of his door…so that my husband and I can walk hand-in-hand along the shoreline, examining shells, watching the sunrise and seeing the porpoise body surf in the waves.
In nature is where I hear the Spirit whisper loudest to me, where I feel in lockstep with the Universe, and I believe that every person needs a place close to where he or she lives to reconnect with the land and with the water to encounter that kind of peace and certainty.
As a person of faith, I live by three principles:
Honor one another.
Honor the Creator.
By working to save the landscape, I hope I am fulfilling the other two.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.