We have never been more connected to each other (digitally), yet we have never been more disconnected from the world around us. Whether it is the food we consume, the natural world, the fuel we consume, or the waste stream we leave behind, it has become far too easy to glaze over the externalities we create as someone else’s problem.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” ― Baba Dioum
While we like to believe Proctor’s Environmental Mission Statement impacts our every action as both an institution and as individuals, this statement remains aspirational, and our free-will often clouds our decision-making process. The ease with which we allow society's disconnect to the natural world to enter our lives leaves us as fallible as any school community when it comes to our daily micro decision-making process. Celebrating Earth Day each spring re-centers us around our Environmental Mission, allowing us to put aside normal academic classes and to reconnect with Mother Earth just in time for Mother’s Day. A huge thank you to Environmental Coordinator Alan McIntyre for organizing this celebration!
The words and music of 18 year old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez energized the community Wednesday night before a full day of hands-on, faculty sponsored workshops Thursday. Xiuhtezcatl has committed his young life to connecting with his generation through music and a message of activism alongside the organization Earth Guardians.
As an indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, he has uses his voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement, and began traveling the world at the ripe old age of six! From speaking at the Rio+20 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro to addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York city to the Wilkins Meeting House, his outsized wisdom and artistic talent captivated students as he reminded us we are best able to create change in the world when we embrace our authentic self.
Xiuhtezcatl’s message centered on the constant battle of connecting in a disconnected world. How do we carve out, even if just for a day, an opportunity for connection with the natural world? How do we become more mindful, even if just for a meal, about the source of our food and the waste we produce? How can we, if just for a day, allow ourselves to slow down and listen to the chirping of birds, rustling the fluorescent green tree blossoms, scurrying of squirrels and chipmunks across dried leaves? How can we, if just for an hour, take out our headphones, look each other in the eye, and have a conversation?
Human connection requires two parties to willingly step into relationship. Nature, however, is always waiting with open arms for you to push aside the digital noise in our lives and embrace her. Among the dozens of faculty workshops today, one group led by Terry Stoecker and John Boutin explored Robert Frost’s farm in Derry, New Hampshire. Displayed on site is Frost's poem Reluctance, first published in 1913. May we walk forward from Earth Day 2019 holding Frost’s words close; never exiling ourselves from the natural world only to return to find what we had once cherished gone. We have been given this one world, we must understand our responsibility to steward it forward by connecting with each other and nature.
Reluctance by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season.