This I Believe

My life has been woven by the theme of the unconventional. From my parents’ origins to the way I saw the ordinary things of the world, I knew that I might never quite fit in anywhere.

Growing up in the outskirts of the largest city in South America, I found refuge amongst the trees, plants, and animals of the Atlantic Rainforest. It was a privilege to be able to wake up hearing the birds and monkeys in the mornings and fall asleep to the sounds of the frogs. My parents’ deep love and respect for nature effortlessly ingrained in me. I felt at home when I was outside. I instinctively knew that I was a part of something larger than myself. Through those early experiences, I began to understand that nature is—as Leopold so insightfully put it—“a community to which we belong.” I began to understand that every one of us—every species of plants, species of animals, soil, water, and air—are all intrinsic and interdependent parts of this complex world we live in.

Overlooking the city of São Paulo from “Pedra Grande” (The Great Rock) in the Cantareira State Park in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo taken by Hari Baumbach taken in 2008.

Overlooking the city of São Paulo from “Pedra Grande” (The Great Rock) in the Cantareira State Park in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo taken by Hari Baumbach in 2008.

Growing up with that intimate connection with the natural world, I had trouble understanding the mainstream “progress” minded, dissecting, segregationist, and utilitarian relationship our society has with nature. A relationship that ultimately led to the pollution, destruction, impoverishment, and injustice I could so easily see from the top of the Great Rock that overlooked the cancerous, gray, smog-filled São Paulo from the no-longer-so-pristine Atlantic Rainforest I once called home. Our world today is filled with case studies of injustice to our land and to all of the living beings on it.

Our relationship with the Earth ultimately reflects our relationship with ourselves. I believe that all of our needs are intertwined and interdependent. There is no separation. We must care for our world and each other, as the family we truly are.

I believe in the power we all have to work together to create a more harmonious Earth community. A community that thrives on the understanding of our interdependence with each other, on the principles of sustainability, and on the acceptance and embracement of diversity.

Working at the Environmental Center

My experiences at the Environmental Center have helped me better articulate my beliefs and values by providing me with opportunities to both share ideas with and present ideas to a diverse range of audiences in a varied range of contexts. From working on projects to educate the community about environmental issues to leading a group of students on projects to solve a local problem, I have been encouraged and empowered to learn to clearly communicate myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *