Hello CEC blog readers!
CEC is fortunate to have the help of volunteers to update our blog. These volunteers help support CEC's mission by writing about important environmental developments and keep folks in tune with the programs here on our property. We are so glad to have the help this year of an Earlham Bonner Scholar, Tori from Dallas. As a passionate environmental steward from the Southwest, Tori brings a unique perspective to our blog. Please help me in welcoming her to CEC!
Greetings, everyone! I am a first year Bonner Scholar and a freshman at Earlham College. As a prospective International Studies/Japanese Studies double major, my volunteer commitment with the Cope Environmental Center might seem to lack some motivation. I assure you this is not the case.
It does not take deep knowledge or passionate activism to be concerned about the environment. Some of the most good can be done by those who donate a few dollars or hours of service to charities and non-profit organizations. I personally believe that caring about the world one inhabits is an innate instinct that an unfortunate group of people in our society appears to lack.
I was born and raised in Texas, specifically a large suburb of Dallas. My city is full of sprawling parks and stringent recycle programs. My childhood consisted of barefoot walks through fields and clusters of live oaks. In my adolescence, I joined an equestrian drill team that required hours served as barn staff in exchange for riding privileges. While much of my time was spent feeding the petting zoo animals and sweeping the tack room, I also assisted with compost maintenance and clearing trails. By working directly with nature, I grew to appreciate it so much more than I would by simply reading a news article or watching a documentary.
My personal concern for the environment stems mainly from my support of conservationism; I acknowledge that what has already been destroyed is lost forever, and I look instead to protect what remains. Successful conservation efforts require the constant education of the masses and community leaders alike, for conservation is not only an environmental concern but also a hot political and social topic: absolute protection requires enforced legislation; such legislation occurs only when elected officials believe they are representing the majority opinion. This brings us back to education, because people cannot truly care about something that remains unknown to them. By giving my time to support organizations like CEC, I am aiding in furthering education about the environment, how it relates to us, and why it is so important. Personal experience has taught me that direct interaction with nature is the most effective teaching method.
Jeff Corwin said: “Today, I’m a conservationist because I believe that my species doesn’t have the right or option to determine the fate of other species, even ones that inspire fear in us.” More than the conservation of usable resources and endangered species, I care about making people understand why “pretty scenery” is so much more than just that. For example, every popular rural tourist spot is the habitat of a variety of species, some of which could not survive anywhere else. There are people who see this as insignificant. They might say, “What’s the loss of one species of bird when there are so many others still alive?” They do not understand the complex workings of an ecosystem, the transfer of energy through a food web, the critical role of keystone species, etc. But this lack of knowledge is not inevitable – it is the result of purposeful ignorance. Our respect for the natural world is diminishing, and I intend to do something about it.