Human + Nature

Mike was working on Friday night.  From 6 PM – 6 AM.  Naturally I wasted a few hours in Target shopping for things I don’t need.  I only ended up buying a a fridge calendar and bottle of wine, both things I didn’t/don’t need, but still a lot less than I had in my basket before buyer’s remorse kicked in.  Why I thought THREE drawer dividers were a good idea, I don’t know.  Thank God I put them back.

When I got home, my list of chores was suddenly trumped by our super comfy couch and my desire to drink alone.  Drinking alone is a privilege I relish.  In college, having people around to witness your drinking was awesome.  How else were you supposed to empathize with those F*** My Life or Texts From Last Night posts? Now I just really enjoy a nice, quiet, antic-free glass (read: bottle) of wine.  I watched that new movie with Tina Fey & Paul Rudd.  I adore Tina Fey (and Paul Rudd.  But mostly Tina Fey), but I was largely disappointed by the movie.  Good thing I only rented it.

The movie was about getting a kid accepted to Princeton.  Which left me feeling inadequate about my education (thanks for nothing, Florida State).  So I decided to watch a documentary.  I am fascinated, well really I’m borderline unhealthily obsessed, with all things snow & ice related, so I chose to watch “Chasing Ice,” a documentary about the loss of Earth’s glaciers (and a film in support of Global Warming awareness).  Please read more about it here.

This isn’t a political rant.  Personally I don’t see how this is something that can be ignored, but Americans are inherently awesome at ignoring really important issues.  At the same time, I am well aware of my ignorance and complete refusal (while mostly unintentional), to take any sort of personal action.  I have always equated Global Warming activists with hemp wearing, composting, paper bag using Vegans.  Not that they’re bad people.  They just aren’t me.

What I’m saying is, I don’t know how to be a good human who lives in sync with nature.  My carbon footprint probably rivals that of Bigfoot.  That’s supposed to be a size reference.  I’m sure Bigfoot actually has quite a small carbon footprint.  I mean, he lives in the woods, doesn’t drive a car/own a house/shop at Wal-Mart, though he’d likely wear size 30 Nikes.

I have this innate desire to be “in” nature…that is, I love exploring, being outside, photographing the world around me, and given the time, opportunity, and budget, would dedicate my life to saving the world’s animals, but that’s just not the hand I was dealt.  I live on a modest income and count rescuing my dog and two house cats my life’s greatest achievement.  We have three flat screen TVs.  I never remember to turn off lights when I leave rooms (despite my parents’ constant hounding).  We use paper towels like they’re going out of style.   I always choose plastic over paper at the grocery store and never take re-usable bags.  I don’t even know if our neighborhood recycles.  Sure, I drive a low emission vehicle (given it only gets 23 miles per gallon), our appliances are mostly energy efficient, and we don’t go crazy with our heating or air conditioning, but what does that matter?

In the past, I have always counted myself as just one person.  Or just one family.  What difference do I make?  On my own…not a lot.  Living with Mike?  Still not a lot.  But when every single person is educated?  A lot.  One person acting on their own is like watching one ant try to move a big ass piece of bread.  It’s not going to happen.  Humans are ants in the grand scheme of life.  If I’m the only person using solar panels, Mother Nature isn’t going to look twice.  If nearly every single ant starts using solar panels, and recycling, and turning off lights, and all those other stereotypically “tree-hugger” things, maybe the glaciers will stop throwing temper tantrums and Earth will recover some semblance of equilibrium.   Maybe not.

I don’t know what my point is.  While watching the documentary, I was more jealous of the places they visited than the travesty of climate change.  I want to be there with them, taking pictures, witnessing the landscape, just being.  It’s hard to break old habits.  I will likely write this post and then continue living my blissfully ignorant lifestyle.  But our excuses are running out.  I want so badly to effect change but I feel so ill-equipped and inexperienced.  What can some kid with a degree in English possibly do for the world around her?

James Balog and his team are the masterminds behind the “Chasing Ice” documentary and the Extreme Ice Survey.  Their cameras are still out there.  In Greenland, Iceland, and Alaska.  The glaciers didn’t stop melting after their film was edited.  Just because you’re not watching doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

All images via James Balog Photography.

Tags: Photography, Writing

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Compulsive snacker. Bleeding heart. Unhealthy obsession with Tom Hanks and cats. Florida State and Syracuse University alum.
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    • Jess May
    • July 14, 2013

    I'm totally guilty of all that too, Anna. Its refreshing to see someone else acknowledge it and not post another guilt-worthy post making me feel bad for the way I am living. I try, but its something that definitely needs to be practiced and made a habit before it is second nature!

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