For the love of nature

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

If you follow me on Instagram you have likely noticed that for the past year or so my photography has shared the spotlight with my 'eco' posts. It isn't a new interest, just a new action. I have always felt a pull towards nature and have had concern for our environment for as long as I can remember. Here's a fun memory: When I was 12, my mom drove us to her friend's new house, and I refused to get out of our minivan and go inside because I knew that the subdivision was built on land that was previously farmland. Probably a bit dramatic, but it made me sad to see someone's farm converted into a mini Stepford!

For most of my life I kept my feelings and fears bottled up because I thought no one understood or cared. Aside from my mom's at-home recycling efforts, I never really saw or heard of anyone making any effort to lead a more sustainable life or caring for the natural world. My friends made fun of me (lightly) for recycling, and I definitely didn't dare talk about global warming or try and have conversations about the environmental changes I saw happening everywhere I went. I didn't feel like there was a community out there for me or that it was even OK talk about my concerns. Admittedly, I didn't look very hard either. I felt daunted by the scale of the problems I heard about and saw on a daily basis and felt that there was no way I could do anything that would actually matter.

The first time I ever noticed sustainability efforts on a large scale was in 2013 when I studied abroad in Costa Rica. Ticos were making impressive efforts to have a lesser impact on nature, and as a community they seemed to care about the natural world. Perhaps it is because they are surrounded by such natural beauty and abundance that they care so much about the human impact. Rainforests, cloud forests, arid climates, tropical climates, mountains, beaches, you name it, that tiny country has it. Although, really, natural beauty is everywhere. It's just our perception of what 'beautiful' is that varies.

I took note of what Costa Ricans were doing, but I still didn't really take action myself at that point. It wasn't until we moved to the countryside last year that my wheels really started turning. We live in such a beautiful rural area, but developments and residential subdivisions seem to multiply like rabbits in northeastern Kansas, so I am concerned about how long this area will be countryside before urban sprawl swallows our land like it ha