This I Believe

Tricia - Land O` Lakes, Wisconsin
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: environment
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We are nature. This I believe. We have no “Save the Environment” campaign; it is merely “Save Ourselves.” Humans are not above other organisms on this planet. We breathe the same air, grow our food from the soil, and sleep out of the rain. Therefore everything we put into our world will ultimately appear within ourselves. This can be easily forgotten in today’s hectic society. Out of sight, out of mind. The delayed effects of pollution are easy to overlook when we don’t see them until 20 years later. And of course we are able to brush off the guilt by thinking that our little bit won’t hurt anything. But the problem is that too many people do this. Too many little bits pile up into a big mountain.

“So what can I do?” I often ask myself. “When everyone’s doing it, how can I make any sort of difference?” Preaching doesn’t work. People seem to have an innate ability to disconnect their ears from their brains. Maybe posters, billboards, or pamphlets? Except those are only temporary and ironically become pollution themselves.

I think the core value is belief. If everyone could believe that we are a part of nature and just one species within many, perhaps a new appreciation for life will emerge. We need to progress from our current position of human dominance towards a world of natural coexistence. We have only one inhabitable planet. Like it or not, we’re all stuck here together.

The opposite of belief is blindness. The prime factors of greed, egotism, and laziness, all containing the core issue of materialism, dwell within it. Nature is full of materials for us to enjoy, if we can only learn to find and appreciate them. As I stated before, the first step is belief. I don’t feel guilty if I can’t recycle my plastic bottle – I’m sad that it might make the earth a little worse for everything else.

Sometimes I feel like all I can do for the world are the trivial things. Pick up a piece of litter here, turn off a light there. Yet I see these minor issues as the building blocks supporting the larger problems. Maybe if enough of us pull out the base, the mountain will crumble upon itself.

I don’t want to say that the world is being destroyed and we’re all to blame. I don’t want to be another radical waving around graphic pictures or making horrific predictions of the future. I want everyone to have hope for our world and to believe in our joint power with nature. We will never have a pristine environment and our species will never be perfect. But we can be grateful for Nature’s gifts, we can believe in the power of positive change, and ultimately we can begin to live.