I've always had an active imagination and a busy mind. This is a blessing and a curse, and it is also why I can’t seem to get away from school. I want to learn and think and understand and wonder. I want to advocate for the things that I believe matter most in this world, and I want to know what I’m talking about when I advocate. I’m talking about all the parts of the world that we (humans) trample and disregard and take too much of. I’m talking about the ways in which we take from one another.
By taking, I mean taking water and arable soil and breathable air and so many things we never had a right to give or take in the first place. Humans do so much taking in this world, and we take more than just things you can hold in your hand. We also take the dignity, sense of community, and personal health that are attached to the water and the air and the soil.
These are only some of the things that need to change.
I graduated from Oregon State University in 2016 with an Honors B.S. in Natural Resources. I created my own option in writing about natural resource issues. This is what I called it on paper, but it was really a customized option in trying to learn about more than just “natural resources.” I handpicked classes in environmental philosophy, environmental ethics, fiction, critical thinking, organic gardening, Native American studies, sacred places, nature poetry, and science writing. I took classes that helped me think beyond the word “resources” that is printed on my official academic transcript, on my résumé, and on many of my undergraduate essays. Some of the classes I took probably looked silly to science professors and those in forestry and natural resources. Often when I told people I had an interest in human dimensions, they thought I meant social science. What I really meant, it turns out, was something called environmental arts and humanities.
I’m in my first year of an M.A. program in Environmental Arts and Humanities, and I am already so humbled by how much I did not learn as an undergraduate. Don’t get me wrong – I learned a ton in my four years of my B.S., and I’m grateful. But I realize now how tragically naive it would have been to walk away from that experience thinking I understood the natural world and humans’ relations to it fairly well.
Currently I am researching issues of diversity, inclusion, and representation of the non-human world in traditional natural resources programs at universities in the United States. Maybe I’ll explore this topic on a more practical level when I graduate.
I am advocate, and I want to become a wiser one. I am a writer, and I want to become a better one. I am a member of this world, and I want to become a more grateful one.
What else? I have a cat. I’ll always have a cat. I don’t know how to live more than two weeks without one. Any longer, and I start imagining cats. I see them out of the corner of my eye when they aren’t there, and I hear them calling for my attention. I also have a guitar and a ton of books that, once I’m done with grad school, I’ll have time to read (some for the first time, some for the third). They’re by people like Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, Richard Louv, Aldo Leopold, Derrick Jensen, Annie Dillard, and Kathleen Dean Moore. And so many more.