Environmentalism and What That Means to Me: A Collection of Thoughts

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That very real and very specific emotion we call inspiration is very different for all of us and in fact there are easily just as many people as there are sources of that profound moment. I think one of the things that truly makes it different is how people respond to being inspired. For me, the outdoors inspires me to write and share my experiences with other people in the hope that they may go out and try something new as well.
I guess put simply, my inspiration works to inspire others. Christopher McCandless (A.K.A Alexander Supertramp) once wrote “Happiness only real when shared,” and I wonder if that is inherently part of the equation. I surely like to have my moments of independence and solitude but when I come back from most any excursion I find myself wishing I could have documented just what I was feeling better. It’s not showing off in any way, but the wish that other people will want to follow in my footsteps.
I want to avoid making people feel jealous or feel like they are missing out on life as that tends to happen so often through social media, while at the same time making the time I spend outdoors as alluring as possible.
For me it’s never just fishing or just hiking but a full mind and body experience of getting out in the natural world and enjoying one’s time there to reflect and enjoy mother nature. I always struggle with the best way to convey that love and passion without seeming to aggrandize or exaggerate my experiences.
It’s beautiful and ugly, raw and refined, emotional and expressionless, and at the end of the day I hope that other people find this relationship as well. I don’t fish to catch fish. I fish to experience the process and environment and philosophy in fishing. I don’t take photos to show off, I try to capture moments and feelings and experiences in 1/1000th of a second.
The “outdoors” is so much greater than the sum of its parts that it’s hard not to be in love with the natural world and all it stands for.
Even that in itself is hard to explain. I believe that the reason environmentalists so often resort to pathos to further their messages is because so much of what they stand for is because they genuinely care about experiencing things on an emotional level. They cannot explain to someone easily about care for the habitat along banks of rivers until that person truly realizes the weight that the area carries for the health and well-being of the entire river ecosystem. It’s not just fishing. It’s a relationship with the natural world through fishing.
Also, those that have the gift of art and a love for the outdoors have a responsibility to bridge the gap between science and the layman using the universal messages in photography and painting and writing. Although only two weeks into my first year of college, I’m realizing why it is so difficult to try to relate to those who are not as educated or not as aware of the world around them. Being truly educated means you can view the world in such a way that you are constantly capable of connecting things to bigger questions, not the shallow, surface equation of things that occur in life.
A formal education is of course not the only way to find this state of mind, but it’s no surprise that there is a significant correlation between one’s level of intelligence and perceived level of conservative thinking or not being open to new things, new people, and new ways of viewing the world.
My goal with my college career is to take a college education and meld it with a very personal and involved approach of environmentalism through the use of social media and content creation to try and bridge the gap between the science and the people.
We are told so often that “the ice caps are melting,” “rainforests are being cut,” and “pollution is producing smog” that pretty soon we are desensitized to hearing about it and no longer care or perceive what that means. The people that try hardest are those personally effected by it.
Now, we come full circle to inspiration. I believe that in order to be inspired to protect the environment, all people need to not just spend more time outdoors but have a better relationship to it when they do go out.
To me taking someone fishing does not mean they care about nature, they just like fishing. We as outdoorsman and outdoor enthusiasts need to instill a respect for the things we do along with the time we spend outside doing it.
That’s is the OutLife. That is the message I started. And that is the philosophy I believe in.

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