Racism is thriving in this nation. Let’s stop pretending the problem isn’t real and fight for justice.

If there’s one thing you should do today, it’s watch this video.

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As I watch a gold band of light seize a dark sky…

When asked what the world’s most pressing environmental issue is, I will always have the same answer: selfishness and the apathy that accompanies such behavior.

Silence

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Silence.
I wait.
Nothing.
It is as if all have left this beautiful place.
 
Silence.
Stillness.
Until a buzz.
Somethings wriggles to my right.
 
A wasp.
Normally a most fearsome predator,
Now caught in an abandoned web;
The creation of its prey.
 
Weak and alone,
Waiting for death;
Yet no spider will ever come,
And death will not be rushed.

How Do I Explain?

So, I recently helped host a discussion on environmental (in)justice at Goshen College for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is, unfortunately, one of the few times that Americans seem to actually talk about race. And even when we do talk about race, we tend to do a lot of finger pointing.

People love to say that they are colorblind or that the United States is colorblind, but this is a major problem in itself. We shouldn’t be colorblind! I honestly believe that people who say this have the best of intentions, but to be colorblind is to be racist. The whole notion allows one to live as if we are all treated as equals – but we aren’t, and we need to be talking about this. We need to be doing something about it. Martin Luther King Jr. was an icon. He was an amazing and inspirational leader. But the need for a continuation of his efforts is real because these problems are not solved, they are just disguised.

During the day dedicated to MLK at Goshen College, I attended a lecture on institutional racism within the criminal justice system. The lecturer gave us a link to studies done at Harvard that demonstrate your preferences toward certain races, religions, etc. My test results show that I slightly favor blacks to whites. This does not surprise me, but when I share these results with others they seem to have a hard time understanding why I have this outlook. How do I explain?

I guess my own understanding of why I might feel this way is linked to the guilt I feel as a white person. I hesitate to use the word guilt because it’s been portrayed negatively at times, but the fact is that I recognize that the color of my skin means that I have privileges denied to others. I am not okay with this. I am angered by this, and yes, I feel guilty about this. I know about the racial injustices and I see the apathy of those around me. I am angered by those who don’t recognize that racism is not an historical issue. It’s a current issue and one that we face every single day, from “Habits of Whiteness” to “The Racial Contract”, racism is real and it is something we need to be talking about and ACTING on.

How do we get people talking about it? How do we get people to change their behavior and fix all of the institutional and structural racism that are all too common in this country? I don’t know. What would MLK do?

On the Existence of God(s)

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Does God exist? This is a question my professor posed to my cohort, asking us how the (in)existence of God plays a role in environmental education.

It’s an interesting question, and I immediately thought of the brilliant Leibniz. Of course God exists. This is the best of all possible worlds! His work on this topic is incredibly difficult to argue, but putting the greatest philosophical minds aside, here’s my own thoughts on this subject:

I don’t know if God exists, and I don’t care. I don’t think whether or not “God” in any understanding of the term exists should change the way that I live. His/her/its existence is irrelevant to me. If the existence of a god makes me want to change how I behave, I must be doing something wrong. It’s all about morality and doing what’s best or what’s right. That is how I try to live my life. If you’re a good person, who cares if there is a God?

An author I once read said this:

“Live your life right…Love with all your heart. Don’t hurt others, and help those in need. That’s all you need to know. And don’t worry about Heaven. If it exists, you’ll be welcome.” – Ellen Hopkins

So, is there a God? Maybe. Who am I to say? Are there implications of that for environmental education? There shouldn’t be.

I don’t live to find love, I live to create it

So, I’m getting really tired of people asking me why I’m single or telling me that I must be lonely. I hear it a lot, so I thought I’d address this topic right now.

I think that women have this strange idea that the purpose of life is to find someone to marry. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in love and get married, but I guess I see life as more than that.

I don’t live to find love, I live to create it.

Yes, that’s right, this means that I love you, dear reader. I love all living creatures, even those that I find it incredibly difficult to share a room with. I love every living thing on this beautiful planet because I, just like you, am connected to every other organism on Earth.

Whether or not I’m single does not matter to me because even though I may just share my bed with a dog and a cat at night instead of a human, does not mean that I am alone or even lonely. I am far from it. I find my connections in everything that surrounds me, and for me, this is what life is all about.

I am not a person who will ever be one to actively seek out romantic relationships. Romantic love is a beautiful thing, and I have been blessed to have loved before. I am always open to new relationships, but I am proud to say that I am content with myself. I have a very active mind and a compassionate heart. I have a lot to live for. So whenever my next romantic relationship comes I will welcome it with open arms, but until then I am not sad or lonely. I just am.