An account of the Dedicant's efforts to work with nature, honor the Earth, and understand the impacts and effects of the Dedicant's lifestyle choices on the environment and/or the local ecosystem and how she or he could make a difference to the environment on a local level. (500 word min)
For me, a connection with nature has always been a very active presence in my life. I attribute that connection partly to the way I was raised. Living in a small town with lots of land and undisturbed natural world around me increased my love of nature. My grandmother was a large-scale gardener, and she nurtured my fascination with the plants and trees She was even caring toward the snakes and bugs that would infiltrate her gardens. She believed they all had a place in the cycle of life. It was a life lesson that she passed along to me. Simply being outside was a form of connecting to the world and the spirits of the land. I love wandering through the woods and sitting in the shade of the tree either on my own or with people I care about. Being in nature and enjoying the world around me is the easiest way to connect. However, I’ve grown to appreciate it even more during the past year. I first began my “official” nature awareness by hiking through the beautiful university campus that I worked on, including the five-acre arboretum. I was blessed to be able to step out of my office door and into the incredible natural world. Unfortunately I ended up changing jobs and with it locations, so I had to take a different approach.
I began to do some exploring of the city’s local parks, wildlife reserves, and special use areas both on my own and with my family. I walked through the trees, waded through the rivers, and enjoyed the sun upon my face. I have started to incorporate some of these elements into my home and yard by planting gardens, bushes, and flowers while also caring for what was already there. There are days that it is difficult for me to connect with nature because I spend a lot of my time in the city, which is very different from the world I grew up in. Sometimes sitting down town surrounded by graffiti and tall buildings, it’s easy to miss the flock of birds overhead and the random flowers growing on the side of the road. I’m working really hard to recognize and appreciate those brief gifts of insight into the natural world. The world is alive with spirit and energy.
Once I felt I was comfortable with the land, plants, and animals around me, I began researching how the way we live affects our natural world. I first began looking into the local trash collection and where it goes and discovered that it goes to a local landfill. In an effort to minimize my impact on the natural world, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of garbage we produce. I signed up for a recycling program and began buying products with less packaging and re-using as much as I can. In the past year I’ve managed to recycle over 500 pounds of items that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. I also started using free-cycle to give way items we no longer use instead of just throwing them away and re-using non-recyclable materials in other projects as often as I can.
The electricity in my area comes from a company that utilizes water, steam, wind, diesel, and coal to produce energy. I try to be very conscious of turning off electronic devices and lights when not in use and use energy saving light bulbs. In the future I would love to see a few things change. I would love to be able to grow a vegetable garden that I can use to feed my family instead of depending on stores. I do try to purchase a lot of fresh produce from local farmers and buisnesses. I do try to live a somewhat “green” lifestyle and am quite proud of where I am and how I live at this point. (648 words)