Conservation and environmental justice are passions deeply rooted in my upbringing. Family trips to the beach always included a careful examination of the local estuaries; drives to elementary school were always accompanied by an update on the war in Iraq with NPR’s Democracy Now; denuclearization rallies create the backdrop for my baby pictures. My keen interest in the outdoors began with a fascination and amazement with my physical space — my local rivers, forests, and mountains — and eventually transformed into a sense of responsibility to and solidarity with the land and creatures as I began to realize the destruction they were experiencing.
This sense of responsibility, and at times indignation, only became more complex as I saw that it wasn’t just the wild creatures that were being hurt by unsustainable development and lack of environmental regulation, it was also my neighbors; it was also people. It was here that I developed an interest in the confluence between social justice and environmentalism — also known as environmental justice. I hope to instill this same sense of solidarity with our physical environment in my students — through all the stages from awe to kinship — so that they too can experience the magic of our place and learn to protect it.
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