Appalachian Trail Overlook

travelsketch_frombarn800The most amazing aspect of the human species (Homo sapiens) is our power to change our environment. Using this capacity, we’ve created societies in almost every corner of the Earth. We construct islands, create inlets and waterways, and move dunes to secure a coastal view. We cut tremendous forests and construct remarkable dams. And we eliminate entire mountains in our search for ores and coal. We even change the temperature and weather patterns of our planet.

This may sound bleak, but I don’t see it that way. With so much influence and ingenuity, we can protect our planet. We have the power to reduce and repair environmental impacts. It all begins with awareness, resolve, creativity… and responsibility.

Mind the wisdom of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben: “with great power comes great responsibility.”

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9 thoughts on “Appalachian Trail Overlook

    • We definitely have the ability. As a professor, I meet 100s of college students each year. Overall, they’re awesome people – their hearts are good. But I’m surprised at how many are unaware of environmental issues – and when they become aware, they feel powerless. Both of these issues can be overcome by education. We need more science communication and education and we need to encourage students to create and try their own solutions (and not be afraid to fail).
      My 2 cents anyway

  1. Beautiful painting and words. Thank you for writing that :-).

    There is a lot of doom and gloom around the negative impact of humans on the planet. Humans have done and continue to do tremendous damage to the environment. But they have also done things to fix their mistakes and mitigate their current negative impact. Human ingenuity and creativity can have a positive or negative impact.

    If a person “messes up their life royally”, they can choose to lose hope or they can start to make more positive choices. I think it is the same for people’s actions toward the environment. Although the number of people involved may make things a bit more complicated.

    It is strange though that there are people who knowingly hurt the environment, humans and animals. But then I look at all the stuff in my apartment and I overwhelmingly feel like part of the problem. I can make small choices though that are better. And these choices, as you say, require education and awareness. Awareness, as you mentioned to memadtwo, often leads to feelings of powerlessness. So people also need to be given a sense a power, a sense that they can make a difference.

    I liked that about the movie Matilda. Matilda was very courageous and smart and creative, and she cultivated her power around that and stood up for what she knew was right.

    After posting a photograph of a wild mink, an animal rights activist suggested I watch a video about mink farming in Norway. The video did not contain particularly graphic cruelty; it showed minks in cages. I wondered about mink farming in Canada. I watched a video about a “humane” farm in Ontario and a second video about a farm in Wisconsin. Both farmers were very proud of their farms, the nutritious food they fed the minks, the well lit and ventilated space. But the cages were so small! Maybe some day no one will think a cage is humane… Education and awareness does slowly change masses of people.

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