After reading In Maple Nation I really began to critically analyze how much the environment gives to me and contributes to my well being. This got me thinking about the things I do, and could be doing, in order to give back to the land. The reading made me realize just how important it is to practice reciprocity because if I am only taking from the land, and not giving back to it, then there will be an imbalance and I will no longer be able to benefit from the environment.
The reading, along with the blog prompt, led me to brainstorm ways in which I can take a “leap” and give back to the environment. I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more. These are just some of the steps I will take to give back and they are all extremely do able. I decided to give myself realistic goals to begin, then I will make more drastic changes. I will make reminders for myself to stick to my plans and make it as convenient as possible for myself and others to “leap” into action and really start to make a difference starting today.
This was shown in my visual representation. I used a glass bottle to represent me and my physical body. The inside of the bottle is filled with parts of the environment. This represents the fact that the land contributes so greatly to who I am today, my well being, and my overall health. Though it may not be easily seen by the human eye, there is nature within all of us and its effects are extremely beneficial to us. For example, without trees we would not have clean are to breath in. So, the inside of the bottle represents what the environment gives to me internally. The outside of the bottle is meant to be my outer self. The part that everyone can see. I surrounded this part of “my body” with numerous acts of reciprocity that I will do to give back to the environment. These are the things that I can physically do if I want to make a difference; my ecological pledges. The point of this piece is to show that even though the effects the environment has on me may not be obvious, they are still there and are a huge part of me. I wanted to show that I can use my body and the things that can be seen to reciprocate/give back to the environment as a sign of my appreciation.
There have been a few instances in my life where I have truly felt connected with the environment but I will focus on one specific time. It is actually pictured on my visual representation. The time that really comes to mind when I think about the environment and feeling a strong connection to it is one time when I was fishing with my family on Barrier River. There is no service on this lake and the lack of technology really allowed me to take in all the beauty that surrounded me. I vividly remember looking around me at all the greenery and fresh water. The sun was keeping me warm as I had my fishing rod in the water. I felt almost overwhelmed by just how amazing and underappreciated the environment is. In this moment, I felt so content and appreciative towards how truly remarkable the environment is and the fact that in order to be able to enjoy its beauty, I am going to have to treat it better than I had been. Still, as I am writing this, I feel a warmth within me and a true connection to the environment all because of that one absolutely perfect day on the water.
My visual representation shows this moment and what the environment is to me in a few ways. The sun represents the warmth and happiness I felt towards the environment in this moment and in the many others pictured. When I am outside, and the sun is shining down on me, I feel a sense of peace and complete joy, all thanks to the environment. The pictures I chose were ones where the feeling of connection to the environment was being felt by me. And making this collage really allowed me to remember how amazing the natural environment is by making me realize that I am genuinely happy and content in all the pictures of me enjoying the outdoors. This feeling of appreciation is what led me to using recycled cardboard to make most of my creation. I realized that if I want to continue being as happy as I am in all of these instances, I have to keep doing small things like recycling to keep this amazing natural environment alive. The words on my visual representation stand for the things that come to mind when I think of what environment is to me. The words are meant to show how the sun and the environment in all of the pictures make me feel and what comes to mind when I see these pictures and think of the environment. After creating this visual, I noticed how positive all the words are. This inspired me to, again, try my best to maintain this remarkable environment because of all the good it does for me. If I can in any way give back to the environment that gives so much to me, I am going to. Reflecting upon my experiences with the environment makes me realize that I should no longer take it for granted in any way.
As mentioned by Hammond, working on this creative journal was indeed an extremely enriching experience. I can honestly say that this work is completely me, and that I am the sole creator of it. It really provided me with a sense of pride and connected me to my work in a way that writing a paper never could have done.
Hammond Article Used