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"Social Values and Environmental Thought"

January 24, 2104

Growing up in an urban, city like setting, the environment wasn't always a main focus in our lives. Our family drove a full size suburban for years while carpooling back and forth from school every day, and our lunches were never lacking at least one plastic baggie as wrapping for a sandwich or side snack. On the other hand, my sisters and I all attended the same sleep away summer camp in New Hampshire where we spent the days on the lake, playing sports, hiking mountains, and just enjoying the outdoors. It was the escape away from "suburbia" into the woods, where we were detached from technology and chaos of a busy lifestyle, that I was able to gain much more of an appreciation for the natural world around us. Since then I have had time to think about what it is really draws me into caring for the environment, and how I can play a role in educating others about how precious our earth is.
Preservation and protection of our land and its resources is one of the main things I strive for in the long run. Many people go through life without realizing the impact of their day-to-day decisions. I want our population to be aware of the harm we inflict on our surroundings and how easily nature can be altered when we are not cautious of our actions. The natural world is a magical, beautiful place that should not be destroyed on account of ignorance. The beauty of the world is something I hold very close. I can't imagine living in a "concrete jungle" where all I saw every day were skyscrapers, smoke stacks, and lots and lots of traffic. Being able to see the sun shine through every branch of a tree and make out the tiniest details of a leaf is a sight that will never tire for me.
There are so many simple pleasures out there in the world that we don't have to create or design; they are naturally occurring wonders calling out for observation, but if we aren't driven to appreciate them then what is even the point? Our world is so caught up in the latest invention or the next big hit on the big screen that we forget about the most amazing creation there is: life. Moving away from nature itself, another important value I have regarding the environment is equality. After being introduced to the many issues around environmental justice I feel very passionate that we need to take further measures to protect those most affected by hazardous zones. There have been too many instances where minority communities have been hurt by waste facilities, targeted by natural disasters, and simply neglected in many situations where their opinions matter most. Moving forward in my environmental career I hope to incorporate environmental justice in my work and make a difference for those who are often overlooked.
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