Some days I feel powerless.
I am one of 7,459,113,015 (as of the exact second I looked at the world population counter).
At 5’8″ and 20 years old it’s hard to imagine how I can change the world.
(But darn it all I want to!)
And then I think about Dumbledore.
And I remember that I AM REALLY FREAKING LOUD.
So at some point people are bound to listen, right?
I mean, you’re all here, so that’s a gosh darn good start.
(Hint hint wink wink nudge nudge: There’s a share button on Facebook.)
So why have I got my knickers in a twist?
Well, we were watching this documentary called “Racing Extinction,” and it made me feel like maybe I should forgo sleeping this evening in order to start a mass media campaign to change how people treat the planet.
And then I remembered that I promised to call my parents at 6:30, so for now I’ll just stick with a blog post (Which is going to go viral, right?).
Here’s a sneak peak at the video EVERYONE EVERYWHERE NEEDS TO WATCH THIS VERY INSTANT:
While every second of the movie hit home, there were three things that really stuck with me:
- If you’re going to take away a villages livelihood (ex: Banning fishing of manta rays, shark, etc.) you have to provide them with an alternative source of income (ex: Tourism-Boat tours to see manta rays in their natural habitat). Otherwise, they won’t change, because feeding their families isn’t optional.
- Capitalize on what’s popular. I love Leilani. When asked why she doesn’t race a bike instead of a car she explains that her driver’s seat gives her an audience in the millions. Instead of accepting fossil fuels and going with the industry’s status quo, she makes up her own rules and changes the way people think in the process.
- The film ends optimistically. It tells us all to find our passion, and live it to the fullest. By working in the field that we love the most, and turning it green, we have the potential to make the most impact.
When I decided against culinary school, many assumed that I had decided against the food industry as a whole.
I’ve just decided to approach it from a different direction. With economics, I can convince you that the locally grown, sustainably harvested organic meal that costs a bit more is actually a far better decision than the McDonalds burger you had your eye on. And, where cost is the problem, I can implement programs to create a vegetable oasis in an otherwise food desert. Just check out all the good Capital Roots is doing in good ‘ole Albs.
My professor at Solheimar asked me to write down my Vision Statement (IN ONLY ONE PAGE) using the following questions as prompts:
What motivates you as a learner of sustainability?
How have you grown this semester as a person, community member, and a more sustainable ecological citizen?
No big deal. I can definitely fit my entire life’s motivation and drive into approximately 500 hundred words.
Mostly, I feel a lot like this kid:
(Many thanks to my glorious friend Rachel for introducing me to this beautiful soul!)
But as his mother says, fighting probably isn’t the best option.
So here are my fighting words:
When we stepped off the plane in Addis Ababa, we were bombarded by children begging for food. At eight years old I was shocked; how could such sadness exist in my world of sandboxes and story-time? And how could the little boy I had already begun calling my brother, even though we had yet to meet, live in a country where food was apparently a luxury?
Twelve years later, I now understand that this is not only an issue of inequality and injustice, but an exposure of the unsustainable nature of the world we live in. How can I have two grocery stores and two convenience stores within a two mile radius of my university, when so many grow up hungry? In what world is that okay?
Not in mine. Not anymore.
As of right now I don’t have the knowledge or tools to save the world, and I certainly can’t do it alone. By expanding my horizons, learning more, and meeting new people with a passion for the planet, I can be a part of a change. A change that will push for equality over excess, and community over consumption.
When I find myself lost, or lacking the motivation to keep moving forward I think back to those first moments in Ethiopia when my entire concept of the world was challenged. The world may have changed in my eyes that day but it did not fall apart because as I learn the steps that must be taken, I also am taught how to live this new knowledge. And that is all the motivation I need to take action.
I have spent this first part of the semester questioning everything I know to be true. It is hard for me to wrap my head around all of the aspects of the world that need working on, and to see how they could somehow come together to form a better place.
It’s frustrating, and hard.
But, I love every second of questioning and every moment of this journey has told us that we can, must, and will change.
As a person I have been reminded that my humanity does not make me superior. While the world today has a tendency to be anthropocentric, being at Solheimar feels a bit like being hit on the head by Rafiki.
A much needed nudge to reconsider the world, because the trees have just as much of a right to live and breath as I do, and I would do well to consider them in my decision making. Similarly, as a community member I remember that there is a force so much greater than myself alone, because we’re much stronger together than we ever could dream of being apart. There is strength in numbers, and if a community of 100 can make a change, imagine what a world of 7.4 billion (and counting) could do.
As an ecological citizen striving daily towards a more sustainable lifestyle, this semester has reminded me of the positivity in possibility. It is easy to get swamped by the numbers of impending doom, but paralyzation gets us nowhere, we need to move forward and fast. I’m not sprinting yet, but this semester has set me off at a fast walk, with time left to pick up speed.
So who’s with me?
Hugs from a planet that needs saving❤ (And as the Cheetah Girls say, “Together we can!”).
(The brothers can stand with us too. The Cheetah Girls just all happen to be…well…girls.)
Live, laugh, love, bake,
Marley and Me
P.S. Always give in to your wanderlust.