I do not know why I go so long cooped up inside feeling trapped and anxious about all the things left to do when I can step outside to feel the breeze, smell the flowered perfume on the air, see the sun cascading through tree canopies and be instantly well again…
If my bags weren’t always so heavy with books I wouldn’t take the bus so often to class, either. Not only is bus transit here unfailingly late, but walking releases so much stress (and doesn’t require carbon fuel). It’s one of the reasons I think I was born in the wrong climate zone, because I walk so much less frequently at home when it’s cold, despite knowing how much I enjoy it and how beneficial it is. Where I am in Australia, it never freezes. It also never ceases to amaze me the different flora I encounter even just on my 20 minute stroll to campus. Fuzzy spiky flowers, purple trees, jasmine blossoms that smell like orange blossoms and only come out after a decent rain, hibiscus, honeysuckle, ombréd bougainvilleas, other tropical plants I can’t name… this earth is so wondrous!
And yet, we are ravaging it every day as a species. Every purchase seems to be marred with the destructive processes by which the product came to be, and even when you try to be conscientious, someone will point out that in fact the parent company is a subsidiary of some evil monoculture-promoting, diversity-destroying corporation that is wiping out entire populations of endangered animals and slowly taking over control of our entire food-production system for its own profit.* Or they’ll point to a study that says the way you’ve chosen to eat and be good to your body actually kills children in the Amazon. Well that’s an exaggeration, but I mean, how do you know for sure? (and really, people, stop doing that). How do you make good decisions without having an anxiety attack every time you pick up an apple that says ‘organic’ but doesn’t have a seal of certification?**
If you’re like me, it can easily become overwhelming. It’s a daily struggle to remember that I cannot and will not change the world single-handedly. I can only change myself, keep my heart, mind, and motivations in the right place, let my actions flow from there, and remember that the rest is not in my control. We are called to be stewards of the earth, and I hope it is not too late for me to make some impact, however small, in prolonging our ability to inhabit this earth well. What legacy will we leave here? I know my beliefs have undergone a lot of questioning and a lot of changes over the years; I’m not always sure about everything I’ve been told by the Church, or school, and I can’t always be sure about everything we’re told by science either, but I can feel the ground beneath my feet and see the sky above and it is wondrous to me. If we stop questioning, if we stop caring, we are lost.
Aaron would say, just grow your own food already and stop buying things you don’t need. Simplify, dammit!*** Sounds deceptively easy…hmm… (and yet, I’m the Mennonite here, how does that make sense?)
Hang on let me just finish my law degree. Uggghhh.****
I need a walk.
*Everybody now: Mmmmmonsanto! That was too easy.
**Because, well, without certification, are we just falling prey to marketing divisions that know most consumers won’t scratch below the surface of what a simple change in label-wording actually means? And anyway, who owns the rights to that certification and what boards of directors does the CEO also sit on, what think-tanks do they sponsor and which political parties do these give funding to??. That’s not even to get remotely in to the topic of resource extraction to support our insatiable appetite for non-renewable energy, or the fact that the ocean is dying and full of so much garbage that it can be seen from space! Argh!!
***He might also say, stop thinking about this in a problems-oriented frame and start thinking about it in a solutions-oriented one! Mmm, buzzwords…
****Actually I love law, don’t worry, parents.