Monday, May 10, 2010

Matt Brown's "Environmental Steward"

Matt Brown
Environmental Studies
PHS 100
Warner Pacific College
May 3rd, 2010

Solara: What was it like before?
Eli: People had more than they needed, people didn't know what was precious and what wasn't. People threw away things they kill each other for now
(Book of Eli, 2010)
In The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington’s character shares about how things were different before a nuclear war destroyed most everything. The story takes place where there are very few plants, ash falls from the sky and people kill over shampoo. I share this quote because I hope to become a teacher and I do not want to spend my days desperately trying to explain why I am nostalgic for how the Northwest once was beautiful.
One of the best ways I can think to try and protect what I love is to not get caught up in terms and political controversy. I want to get to the heart of the issue. There is so much we can do that will benefit us directly without the added long windedness that often accompanies the necessity of being right. I don’t care if a person believes in global warming or not. What I want to know is: if there are things on this planet worth protecting then what are you willing to do for them? Essentially, I don’t want to know what a person thinks as much as I want to know how they live.
I love the northwest. We have amazing forests, rivers, and mountains. The air is fresh and the water tastes good. Yet, when I consider driving less it really has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions. I like the peace of riding my bike. I like the money it saves me. I like being outdoors. Similarly, when I recycle I’m not really thinking about global warming or landfills, but that I want to be a good steward of what I have. I don’t want to waste.
Despite the things I do with no environmental motive, I do take immense pride in where I live, I do pick up trash when I see it. I do support local business. I do maintain a vegetable garden and go to the farmers market. I compost and I have redone a lot of my house to make it more energy efficient. Though these things are environmentally motivated I still believe all of these things are worth doing for their own sake.
Our society is neutralizing itself by missing this idea. The things behind one person’s philosophy might be intrinsically important to another person even though they disagree with the philosophy itself. I know people who would tell you with vehement pride that they ride a bike, because they don’t want to add to the green house emissions of the world. I know others who swear veganism is the only way to save the planet. Yet, I’m not really sure if it matters that we believe the same things if we take care of what is good in this world either way.
As a future teacher it is my hope that I might be able to teach students about how extraordinary our planet is and how worth wild it is to take care of it. I believe in social modeling, but I also believe in Lev Vygostsky’s idea of proximal zone of development. Not only can I make sure that I’m living an example of environmental stewardship, but I can create a classroom atmosphere that entices students to wonder and then when they’re ready to learn I can teach them.
For example my classroom can be a display of healthy living and environmentally caring things. I can use recycled objects. I can utilize low energy technology. I can make their projects inherently environmentally friendly. I can use real life stories and movies to show how practical things are. I can give them the same sense of awe over creation that I have. I can let my own excitement become contagious.
Another aspect of bringing my own stewardship to bear on those around me would involve expanding the idea of living locally. I can choose to live near the things I want so as to lesson my gas dependence. I can frequent business that support direct trade, free range and clean energy. I can offer to recycle things for my friends and family when I’m going to be headed there anyway.
I’m not saying that forming beliefs about things is wrong, but I think we can have more of an impact by loving life and living in an environmentally sound way. I think people get caught up in ideologies that don’t make a lot of sense in regards to other things they agree with. a person might not believe in global warming, but they may believe that their actions can have an effect on their immediate environment anyway. My goal for myself (and I hope for most of society) is to get behind the things I love even if people I disagree with love them to.

Hughes A. & Hughes, A. (2010). The Book of Eli [Motion Picture]. United States: Alcon

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