It was the Christmas of ’92, at the age of nine, when I realized that perhaps I was an atypical child, and had an especially atypical mother. That Christmas, shunning any form of traditional celebration, my mom and I were somewhere in the far mountain reaches of British Columbia, camping in the snow. Unsurprisingly, we were completely alone in this endeavor. With only the crackling fire and each other for company, I felt the true depth of our solitude. I became acutely aware of the magnitude of the trees, the stars, the snow and everything that surrounded us. I’ll never forget how small I felt that night.
If more people took time out of their lives to experience and appreciate the natural world in its breadth, there would be a greater collective effort to live in ways that are less harmful to the planet. I believe that much of humanity has cut itself off from the most basal elements of existence. There is lacking a fundamental appreciation for the place of origin of all life and the delicate cycle that is responsible for life to sustain. It is critical that humanity become not only more educated about the importance of conservation, but also feel a personal connection to that which they should be saving. This can be as simple as joining a community garden or a hiking club.
I have spent countless hours building a lifelong connection with the natural world. Whether it was climbing a mountain, swimming in the ocean, walking in the desert, or even tending a garden. During these times I always feel a surge of appreciation and joy for the role nature has played in my life, hence my commitment to a lifestyle of preservation. I encourage others who haven’t, to take a step in the direction of visceral beauty. To turn off the television, step outside, and take a walk amongst the very organisms that make it possible for us to breathe. And to remember that the world is not our dumping ground, but a living, breathing entity upon which all of life depends.