The Environment: Home or Hobby?

credit: Etienne Poisson
I visited my Arizona homeland last April and ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. After exchanging the basics -- Where do you live? How many kids do you have? -- we moved on to the “What do you do for a living?” song and dance. When I told her I worked for a conservation organization, my friend, a devout Christian and fine person, looked at me with an expression somewhere between bewilderment and bemusement, and exclaimed, “I’ve never known someone who was into the environment!”

I understand what she meant, of course. She meant “into” the environment like one is “into” a hobby or cause; but, taken literally, the comment begs the question -- what else could one be into? The stratosphere?

There’s nothing else to be in-to, but the environment!

The carbon dioxide exhaled in your next breath will be “recycled” into oxygen by the trees outside your window for your next hour’s breath. The atoms that make up the wonderfully unique and amazing you were once the itty bitty building blocks of birds, bugs, rocks, soil, flowers and/or dinosaurs -- all equally unique and amazing in their own ways. The fact that an atom in your right pinky’s fingernail was once lodged in the hind foot of a three-toed sloth has nothing to do with pantheism or reincarnation (as my friend might fear); it has everything to do with biology.

We are -- part and parcel (and particle) -- creation.

Being “into” the environment isn’t a matter of preference, it’s a matter of placement in the order of things. The environment is not a hobby, it’s our home.
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