In honor of Earth Day on the 22nd, I am dedicating this month’s #OperationBeautifulNation theme to environmental justice. I have called in for reinforcements from friends, folks around the glob and neighbors. This week guest writer, Maggie Stachewicz, will be sharing why the environment is important and needs our attention, love and respect.
Here’s what she has to say:
While not a real word, occhiolism has been a term coined by literary artists to illustrate the awareness of the smallness of your perspective. With over seven billion people roaming the Earth, your perspective on the world is extremely limited. This can feel heavy but I would argue, realizing the smallness of your perspective can be extremely freeing. To hold a small perspective means you will never find a complete solution alone, you must rely on those around you. You are an integral cog in the worldly machine built of billions of pieces. The solutions to environmental problems will not come from redefining the way our machine works, they will come from maintaining it. We must not let the gears grind and rust, we must oil them, replace broken pieces, and allow the machine to keep on turning.
Environmental justice is extremely important to me. It is about fighting for the health of every piece of our machine. It is about not letting money decide who lives and who dies. It is about an intimate relationship with the ground you walk on. It is about thankfulness; a true and deep thankfulness not shrouded in turkey and stuffing but realizing that you are a product of the world you live in and thus wanting to make it better for everyone following you. It is about being able to look a child in the eye and say, “You will have everything I had and more.” It’s about love, about caring for others, about solving problems so your children do not have to worry. It’s about realizing you are small and the Earth is huge and that it is providing for you.
A line from my favorite poem read as this, “We must connect the dots of everything we think we thought we knew, and you will draw a blueprint for a breakthrough.” Environmental Justice is not about grandiose ideas, it’s about relying on the basics. The Earth has provided us with everything we need to survive- to thrive even- but we have been relying too heavily on the wrong pieces for too long. We have to harness the sun, reign in the winds, and tame the eternal lapping of the seas not fracture holes in the ground we walk, light fire to pieces of the Earth that have been forming longer than humans have been around, and cut down precious beings.
While you may agree with me on the importance of environmental justice, it can seem almost impossible to do anything about it. We seem to be stuck in a society where our options are handed to us, and none of them are really quite right. It’s part of being small, it seems like our options are limited to bad or worse. But, in reality, this isn’t the life that’s been handed to us. At first glance, it may seem impossible to fight for our Earth but take a second to step back and look. There are major companies doing big things- support them with your patronage. There are politicians fighting the good fight- support them with your votes. There are non-profits working tirelessly for our planet- support them in your generosity.
Environmental justice is about not accepting complacency, it’s about looking those in the eye that say, “there is nothing to do,” and showing them everything we can change. It’s about holding our politicians accountable for the world they have created. It’s about maintaining the machine.
About The Author: Maggie Stachewicz
Maggie is currently an Earth and Environmental Science major at Indiana State University with a concentration on atmospheric and surface processes. She feels called to protect and care for the Earth the same way the Earth cares for all life, while aspiring to promote environmentally conscious living for everyone- because it is never too late to be better.
Keep up with her on Instagram