Nature and Environment

Because at 160,000 years, the party is just getting started.

Add to My MSN

Nature’s Restorative Power

9/24/2013 10:23:00 AM

Tags: back to nature, Lindsay McNamara, New Jersey

canoe tripWhile on a canoeing trip in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, my friend and I got out of our boats to go for a hike alongside a creek.  We found a fairly large crayfish during our adventure. Finding this crayfish as a college student had a larger effect on me than I expected it would.  It got me thinking about catching crayfish in the creek with my friends and family in middle school and early high school.  Like most middle school students, I was unaware of the magnitude and scope of the environmental issues we face in today’s society. 

As I grew older, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and expanded my knowledge of environmental issues and the economic, social and political reasons for our struggle to protect the Earth, while staying passionate about conserving resources for future generations. 

Now, reading story after story on my Twitter timeline about Keystone XL, songbird decline, politicians’ speeches, stresses me out and sometimes makes it difficult to remain hopeful about the environment.  It is easy to get bogged down and have a defeatist attitude about the state of the planet and the lack of stewardship of our ecosystems, but taking the time to get back out in nature reminds me of what I fight for day-to-day as an environmentalist.  

I started taking walks outside through parks or along the ocean without my iPhone in college.  I love the freedom of not knowing what time it is and not compulsively checking my phone to see if I have any text messages.  Part of getting back outside isn’t just going to a park and taking a walk; it is connecting with nature without distractions. 

I used to walk through a state park near campus.  I would turn around when I reached a certain bridge in the park, but one night I realized a small wooden plank foot path leading farther into the forest.  I went down this path, and listened for the birds.  I was delighted to see a woodpecker looking for food in a tree trunk.  She was seemingly unaware of the water quality below her; I noticed a nice shiny top coat of some kind of pollutant, most likely from mining, on the water.  It was then that I realized that my “get back into nature” idea is somewhat of a cycle.  When I get bogged down by all of the problems we have created, I go for a hike and submerge myself under the tree tops.  When I see a filmy cover on the creek water, I am motivated once again to go back out and fight for species like the woodpecker.  And, I’m sure, when fighting the good fight has me down again, I will go back into the park to repeat the cycle to find the motivation to provide my children with the opportunity to be able to go to the creek and catch a crayfish, as I once did, without getting sick from the quality of the water.  



Related Content

The Problem with Environmentalists

For decades environmentalists have been passionate about the cause and, it turns out, we were right....

Become Self-Reliant While You Can

There can be a place of comfort and refuge from the storms to come, whether meteorological, politica...

Celebrate Where We Are

Yesterday I had coffee with Kirk Adkisson, a pastor who’s starting a progressive Presbyterian church...

Under the Covers with a Flashlight

The quiet low of January has broken, the promise of spring and its seedy optimism is evident in the ...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

atwhippoorwillridge
10/21/2013 9:19:27 AM
The cycle you speak of that keeps your march on - I feel the same. Here I am surrounded by gmo farming while we still live inside thousands of acres of classified forests and wildlife habitats. A drive into town restores my internal march to make the changes, go backward in the environment and how we grow our food. Thanks for the article and your clear thoughts.










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.