Finding Harmony

One of my most vivid memories of feeling connected to the environment occurred on a school choir trip to Banff National Park. It was a clear but cool spring day, and the choir was participating in a group hike. We climbed numerous wooden steps that had been wedged into the side of a small mountain, slowly lifting us to higher elevation and revealing the beautiful scenery all around us. I remember breathing in the fresh mountain air, smelling the natural fragrances of the flora, and hearing the birds singing above the rushing streams below us. I remember feeling the cool air against my skin and appreciating the beauty of the sky, mountains, waters, and trees. I remember feeling at peace. Once we had reached the top of the mountain, our teacher prompted us to sing one of our a cappella pieces, evoking an experience similar to that of the one Robin Wall Kimerer writes of in Braiding Sweetgrass. Our song spoke of living in harmony with the earth, and much like Kimerer at the end of her piece, I finally understood what that meant. It was then that I began to understand and construct my own definition of the environment. I realized that humans are only a small piece encompassed by the greater environment, and that we must live in harmony with everything that is consists of. I experienced the affect of ecology as “the subversive science”, just as Kimerer referenced in her story. Furthermore, I realized that the environment is our home, perhaps the only one we will ever know. Because of this, it is vital that we reflect on the significant impact we are having on our environment. This is also what I believe to be the purpose of environmental education. We must educate ourselves and others about our place in the environment, and how our actions affect it, so that we may create change in order to keep the environment healthy and sustainable for all life forms.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Harmony

  1. Tianna,

    What a beautiful piece of journal you wrote here! I LOVE the picture of four seasons with the word “Home”, so true. Environment is not far from us, it’s where we live in! I also like how you described your trip to Banff. Even if I haven’t been there yet, your description allows me to picture the scenery.

    Your experience reminds me of the outdoor activity we did yesterday. Taking a deep breath, feeling the cold air touching my skin, calming down myself and focusing on what I can hear from the nature surrounds me – It was simple yet very meaningful time for me as being in nature is something that I am lacking of in daily lives. When we gathered around together and imagined how the nature would see ourselves, I realized I used to think the idea of being in environment in an egocentric way. But really, the nature exists first, and I am a “part” of its existence.

    As humans are one piece of the Earth, my thought goes along with yours too in terms of making a harmony with everything within the environment. Also, I think that being a member of any community brings certain responsibility. Hence, we would need to acknowledge and appreciate the benefits we receive from the nature, as well as strengthen the awareness because it would be the first step we can take to “return to the nature”, as Kimmerer said in the article.

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful story,
    Sua

    Like

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