What is an Environmentalist?

What is an Environmentalist? Who are Environmentalist? Am I an Environmentalist? These are all questions that I have never considered before. During our discussions in class there was a lot of controversy concerning these questions. I think that there were a lot of people, like me, who have never pondered this question.

I did not consider myself an Environmentalist when I was first asked. I don’t spend my life trying to bring awareness to the world or living off of the land. This was how I defined what being an environmentalist entails. I find that society needs to place people in categories and give them labels in order to make sense of things. It is not always a conscious decision but it still happens. We label an environmentalist as someone who is extreme in their beliefs, people who protest, are hippies, and tree-huggers. I realized that those are the radicals that we usually see in the media and not the true meaning of environmentalism.

After we debunked the label of the stereotypical environmentalist, I decided that I would redefine my idea of environmentalism. I believe that being an environmentalist is being connected to the environment. By practicing stillness and spending time outside we are developing a connection to the environment. I think another aspect of being an environmentalist is having knowledge about the issues concerning environmental health and taking that knowledge to make positive changes. By having that connection and knowledge, we will start caring more about our environment.

Now I consider myself an environmentalist on a journey to becoming eco-literate. I do a lot of driving back to my home town, I use way more water than I need to and should probably recycle more but I am working towards using less. My Action Learning process has really showed me how hard even the little changes can be. I don’t think this means I am not an environmentalist. I love being outdoors, gardening and soaking in the fresh air and I am fascinated by the natural beauties in the world. I am working towards gaining more knowledge and making more changes in my own life. I am connected and that is a good start.

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