Since you have taken the time to read my blog, it is only fair that I provide a little bit of information about myself. Growing up near Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada where I spent many hours exploring the marshland (much like enviro guru, Dr. David Suzuki did in his early life), I developed an innate concern about environmental issues. Whether it is gazing at a Monarch butterfly or a pair of yellow finches in my yard or the more breathtaking experience of watching grey whales mating in the Bay of Fundy, there has always been something about witnessing the marvels of nature that fills me with an overwhelming feeling of joy and awe.

My additional love of literature led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Honours English. However, upon completion I realized my main passion was the environment, which led me to achieve another undergraduate degree in Environmental and Resource Studies. More recently I completed a Master’s degree in Planning with a focus on environmental health, which seeks to promote public health through the creation of a healthy environment.

While I am now in the position to pursue a “real” job in my chosen field of planning, I strongly believe that there is much work to be done in the area of advocacy for environmental issues. By advocacy, I mean something that, let’s say, pushes the envelope a little, causes us to think beyond our usual modes of thinking, and hopefully in the process takes us beyond the limitations of what we believed possible.

In order to achieve this advocacy, I recognize the assertion made by Buddhist practitioner Stephanie Kaza (2008) in her book Mindfully Green that everywhere there are teachers and that we ourselves can be teachers. This is important to remember in this world of information bombardment and gloomy forecasts that can lead to overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and despair. By working together, can we better determine the most appropriate courses of action, or inaction, depending upon the situation.

To return to myself, this is a lesson that I am learning as I increasingly become aware of what is happening in my neighbourhood and greater community in and around the city of Waterloo. This has been the case with respect to both environmental and the inextricably linked social issues, such as global climate change, food sustainability, and child poverty. These experiences have inspired me to get involved and do what I can. And much like the Monarch butterfly that gets carried along by the wind, enjoying in the process the journey, as new challenges and rewards present themselves.

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