When I was younger, my twin sister and I were like Phil and Lil from “Rugrats.” We were always outside playing in the dirt, catching bugs and frogs, and climbing trees. I had a very personal connection to the Earth growing up. The woods were a way for me to spend time with my mother, hiking around as we talked about her life. In nature I was able to find freedom and a chance to explore, through various sleep away camps and my own daytime ventures throughout our neighborhood. On days where I just wanted peace and quiet I’d climb up a tall tree and hide away reading a book where no one could find me. These are all things that I value from the land.
To me, these experiences are just as impactful as the food and home that it provides me. As I have gotten older I haven’t gotten to be outside as much, aside from sports fields and my environmental science classes. As a result I have felt rather disconnected from the land for a while now; even here at Dickinson, a greener college then most, the land feels rather manufactured and synthetic with all of the landscaping that is carried out. I really dislike land when it is converted to this landscaped environment (which is not to say I don’t like gardens, which are a different sort of land all together), forced like topiary to take the shape that its “owner” decided for it. I had also begun to just see the land as a separate entity that we, as inhabitants of the Earth, are polluting and exhausting rapidly. Since taking this class I have started to feel a rekindling of that connection. This course has helped to return my previous passion for environmental justice and ecology to me. In the readings from class I can clearly map this change of thought, in myself, from a separation from the earth to seeing all of the ways that I am still connected. I no longer feel that disconnect between Carlisle, not to mention the Earth in general and myself. Playing in the dirt helped. I also have learned new ways that I impact the earth, such as through nail salons, and how the earths own plight emulates mine as well, as a woman. As we discussed in class, we put a lot of emotional work into these relationships, the workers at these salons as well as the earth, that impact all of us (from chemical inhalation hurting us and moving up to be harmful gases destroying the atmosphere). Lastly, this blog assignment is named “This Land is My Land,” a concept I do not agree with. This land is not mine, or a humans; a mistake that we have always made, through colonization and manifest destiny. I think it is important to remember the point made by Vandana (http://madasamarinebiologist.com/post/20866826787/you-are-not-atlas-carrying-the-world-on-your) that we are only able to live on this planet as long as it can support us, not for as long as we decide that we want to. This class has also helped me to put into perspective just how dependent on the earth we really are. As Vandana Shiva states in Soil Not Oil, “no society can become a post-food society” (p. 38-9). We need the earth a whole lot more than it will ever need us, I feel it is important that we all remember that.