This I Believe

Ben - Wayne, New Jersey
Entered on April 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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Chain Reaction

A few years ago, when I was seventeen years old, I sat with my grandfather on his deathbed. We were at his home, a farm in upstate New York. My fondest memories of our time together was spent in the woods surrounding his farm. He knew so much about the land, he could identify trees and birds just by their call. In my eyes he was truly one with nature. Being in the woods was like a second home to him. It was his home. It was his life, and how he made his living. I have him to thank for my love of the outdoors, and for wanting to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist. He told me that he did not do the things he did, such as take me hiking and camping, just simply because it is something he enjoyed, but there was something more. He said that the earth has given him everything he needs, the food that he grows, the water that he drinks, and that all lead to the family that he loves.

This was his way of life. It was what he called living pure. Every morning I wake up I ask myself if I am living pure, and each day that I try to live as pure as I can, I see the world slipping deeper and deeper into something that is less and less like the world that my grandfather lived in. I believe that a global problem cannot be solved by a few nations, but the entire globe. Sometimes it is hard to fathom a global problem when I am just one person, simply a student, and I find myself asking the question, what can I do as an individual? Then I think, what did my grandfather do? He inspired me to keep his beliefs alive, so they would not get lost in this world where time moves so quickly sometimes we do not get a chance to see it pass before our eyes.

If my grandfather inspired me, I think, why can’t I inspire others. This is how I live my life. In my encounters with people who are not environmental students, such as most of the people I live with, their reactions when I tell them about some of the problems with our environment and some little things they can do, their reactions are usually, yeah sure, what is one person’s actions going to do? But sometimes I see one person I have talked to not letting the water run when they shave, or turning to lights off when they leave a room, something they did not always do, and I feel accomplished. If we can all inspire at least one more person, it can set off a chain reaction, getting more and more people to do a little each day. If everyone does a little, we can all do a lot. This I believe.