When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing on your mind? Homework? Work? What to wear? Well, whatever it was, I doubt your first thought was to consider that the trees and vegeta­tion must be doing a great job with all that photosynthesis business.

I will have to give it to you, that would be pretty unusual, and yet, have you ever stopped to truly appreciate the miracle of life? Nature is all around you! Amazing things are happening right now! When was the last time you literally, “stopped to smell the flowers”? I know as a student it can be hard to remember that there is life outside of studies. And in a world of tech­nology, where everything is so fast-paced, it seems a little old-fashioned to take a “nature” walk.

We seem to take nature for granted, or to consider it merely a resource to pro­vide for us things we want and need, and it does. Many of the products we use daily without even a second thought, have some roots in nature. The ingredients in your shampoo, fragrance, antiperspirant, the food you eat, and so much more. Na­ture can and has provided us with a great many of things. But nature has intrinsic value, too. Its beauty and wonders are priceless.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, our 36th pres­ident once said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ” Roosevelt recognized that our world, full of nature, provides our very strength, and he was just one of many people who spoke out about the value of nature. We, being so disconnected, are often not anthropocen­tric towards nature. We only see how it can serve us, placing ourselves (human­ity), in a role of superiority.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold, who was an American author, scientist, ecologist, for­ester, conservationist, and environmental­ist, said this about nature. He was a profes­sor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949).

I hope that the wisdom of these nature lovers will inspire you to go outside and look at the wonders all around you. Take a walk through your neighborhood and watch the squirrels scamper up the trees. Take a stroll through Point Defiance and marvel at the beauty of an old-growth forest. And the next time you sit by the ocean shore, just think about all the amaz­ing life forms coexisting beneath those waves, from the smallest diatom, to the largest whale, all creatures have intrinsic value and we are all connected in life. So enjoy the amazing wonders of this beau­tiful world, and yes, do stop, once and a while and smell those flowers.

PHOTO BY ALLISON PHAM
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