My parents were both raised in Cristian homes and my father was even a pastor for most of my childhood. Church was a very common thing and even after my siblings and I were old enough to make the decision on if we wanted to go to church in the mornings, we still would out of respect for our parents.
We didn’t do much apart from church for any type of spiritual enlightening. It almost seems boring to compare sitting in a building for 2 hours compared to the hands-on teachings that the First Nations beliefs and relationships with the land where they have a more hands on approach to their teachings.
The closest thing my family might have to our own spiritual tradition would be when we would go out through our trees and relocate the smaller baby trees to a location that doesn’t have as many so that the little ones aren’t killed by being so close to the large ones. After we had relocated and watered them. We would sit on the grass looking at them and talk about all the benefits that come with having trees and all the things that the trees do for us. Though it was only really a summer thing for us, it was still something that we all enjoyed and was “our” thing.
Decolonization is the action of a state withdrawing from a former colony and becoming independent. Though I’ve never experienced any states withdrawing, the closest I could relate to would be when my family friends from the reserve we lived on in years past moved to our town around the time I began going to school. It was nice to start school with a friend but it was hard to watch as many people would make racist jokes towards them. He didn’t let it get to him though, proving everyone wrong by joining the basketball team, and being better students than the ones making fun of them. It was encouraging to see someone overcoming everything that people were saying he couldn’t do. I was always fearful that I would be picked on for being homeschooled but witnessing my friend overcome everything he had thrown at him showed me that it didn’t matter what other people think. Though we still had our up and downs we still encouraged each other all the way through grade 12.
The “space in between embodied feeling & making sense” and “moments of relearning & unlearning”. I believe are the places, not physical but mental ones, where we feel the happy. Not the same happiness you feel at the end of a movie or a book with an ending you like but happy in a peaceful sense. Like walking along the ocean shore and looking off into the ocean, or walking through a path of trees and stopping to admire the size and beauty of it all, or if you’ve hiked up a hill, a cliff, a mountain and you reach the top and feel like you can see the whole world and all its beauty. You almost don’t even have a thought you could put into words. It’s just a feeling of happiness you get when you see the earth in all its beauty. I believe that is what Ho’s paper is trying to explain in those 2 sentences.
“There’s so much grey to every story – nothing is so black and white”. (Lisa Lang)
Our project was about raising the awareness of our carbon footprint and was we can eliminate the damage we do to the earth starting with the simple things in our everyday lives. This quote to me gives me the confidence where I myself had doubt in my ability to reduce my carbon footprint. Many of the people in my group already had many things they had incorporated into their everyday life and to someone who had just started, it was almost discouraging to look at myself and see how much I wasn’t doing. I viewed them as being the people the earth needed while viewing myself as the same as all those who don’t care for the environment. Though I do try I felt like if you were to take those helping the earth and those who are not, I would end up in the group who does not compared to the rest of my group. This quote to me made me think that there doesn’t have to be just “black and white” but the shades of grey in between. Perhaps my shade of “grey” is darker than others, but I can keep working towards me own personal goal and not compare my “shade” to the others.
Reading the poems and posts of other students in the class was very eye-opening. Before we had all shared I knew they were all going to be poems and that they were about saving the earth but it was still very interesting to see the differences and how each post varied from the other. Yet, just like how no two snowflakes are alike but together can produce piles of snow. The differences in each post all had powerful ideas on how we should be incorporating eco-literacy into our everyday lives. As someone who has never been strong in the category of poetry, it’s a bit embarrassing to try and compare the short poem I had written to the incredibly creative and well-written posts of the others. But, will the goal being about our views, thoughts and how we share the same views towards the planet it was difficult deciding who’s posts to write about.
I enjoyed Mack’s post because I really enjoyed the fact that not only was his post done incredibly well, but it also was what he had planned to send into the Dean of Education. You can read it as a message to the Dean but I also viewed it as a message to myself (or those that read it). Further, in the poem, he writes “Getting there won’t be easy. We all must do our part. Recycling isn’t everything. But it is a start.”. I read this and it really hit me in my pride. I used to think “what difference does it really make if I recycle or not? I’m just one guy” and basically used that as an excuse not to recycle and not feel bad about it.
I had read Sara’s later and really enjoyed how relatable it was. As someone who grew up on acreage with open fields beyond my backyard, I too enjoyed the beautiful view in the evenings that came with it. “We run through the field to find a perfect spot. It has now deepened to a violet-blue, with strokes of bubblegum pink, and clouds so thin and light”. This allows any who read it to picture their own memories of looking up at the beautiful sky the earth has given us.
With how short my poem was I feel as though comparing it to the other posts would be a knock at the other posts. But, short as it may be, it is still my views on how the earth has given us so much and yet we still “We take it for granted this planet of ours”. With Mack’s poem being about taking the literal steps toward saving the planet, Sara’s post about enjoying the beauty the earth gives us if we can take care of it, and mine being almost the bridge in-between, I think reading all these posts has really broadened my knowledge and understanding of Eco-literacy.
Like a mother that cares for her child.
The earth has done everything to provide.
While she watches us, all run wild.
She has always been by our side.
And yet, with all she has done for you and me.
Like trees giving air for us to inhale.
We still choose to pollute her sea.
Leaving behind our plastic trail.
We take it for granted this planet of ours.
But the little things can make a change.
Like walking instead of driving your car.
Removing plastic for an eco-exchange.
In smaller towns, it is very common for farms and acreages to be surrounded by an abundance of trees around the house and yard to keep the strong winds from blowing things into, or off of, your yard. My home was no different. The types of trees varied but were all equally useful. Each year we would take the smaller trees that would be suffocated by the larger ones and relocate them so that they may grow as big as the others on our property.
We have many trees on our acreage, from spruce trees, birch trees, and crab apple trees. Each of these trees serve a different purpose and help in a variety of ways. Because of this, my family and I do what we can to take care of the fully-grown trees, and relocate the smaller trees to a new area if the area they are in could hinder their growth, or offer them to people who are wanting or in need of trees.
What is the environment to me? The environment is my home, and yet, its everywhere. When I’m outside on the front lawn with my dog playing catch, when I’m walking down the sidewalk on my way to the university, and when I’m on vacation at a beach in some tropical place I am surrounded by the environment. What first comes to mind when I think of the environment is my home back in Melfort. We lived on an acreage with large lawns that we would run and play on, a long dirt road that we would ride our bikes on, and hundreds of trees that we ourselves planted. My favorite environment would be when I would walk with my dog too our raspberry bushes beyond our numerous trees where I would pick berries until I couldn’t hold anymore, and then continue my walk until I had reached the end of the trees where the last tree had a very low branch that I could sit on while I watched cars drive by and share my berries with my dog. It may not be everyone’s idea of the environment but it is a place where I feel closest to the earth.
Even though people may have their own ideas on what the environment is (which I am in no way disagreeing with those ideas of environment), I believe that the environment is everywhere and all around us. Though the environment changes depending on our location we are still within an environment of some kind. Whether we live in the city, small town, or a different country, we are all in an environment.