Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be Here Now

     Yesterday, I took my book, Gold in the Glades: The GLADE Guide to Outdoor Leadership Development, to the printer. It is a milepost for me, the culminating event in a year long journey to document everything that I could about the GLADE project and experience. It was a soul searching process. Some days the words just wouldn't come, clogged in some muddy ooze, unable to free themselves. On other days I couldn't stop them from flowing, like a effervescent spring in the heart of the Current River watershed.

“A man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed
 the vision on earth for the people to see." Black Elk.

     My personal vision of conservation has been with me for a long time. Its expressions took the form of experiential courses and projects for secondary students. Environmental Awareness and Group Leadership Explorations (EAGLE) 1986-2000, explored the role of nature in risk taking and personal growth in a natural setting. Analysis of Environmental Relationships in Individual Expression (AERIE), 1994-1998, explored the role of nature in inspiring creativity, and Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE), 2009-present, explores nature through ecological relationships, critical habitat restoration, community service, collective vision, and the nature of leadership. They are all courses that I developed alone or helped to develop. I have been a lead teacher in all of them. And, they all express my personal vision of conservation. Way too simple, it boils down to 10 words: "Be passionate. Be grateful. Be hopeful. Give back to nature."

It has worked for me. I share my  thoughts from the book below.

     It is easy to view the world as it is, and hide behind a cloak of cynicism. There is always the quick wit of a sarcastic barb to ease the pain that inconveniently surfaces from within. It is not so easy to acknowledge that beneath one’s cynicism lays an idealist who sees the world not as it is, but as it should be.

     We who strive for ecological balance and social justice experience and occasionally mourn the losses in our efforts to ease the pain present in our world. Nevertheless, we passionately work to restore, heal, and create a new world where justice prevails, green space flourishes, and sustainability reigns for all of posterity. It does not help to tell us that the way is impossible, for we have gazed into the heart of the Earth, and have heard its ancient cry. It defines who we are, and it imparts meaning to our existence.

      I come to the end of this TogetherGreen Fellows adventure with an unwavering sense of gratitude and a renewed commitment to doing whatever I can in the time that I am given to ride a wave of passionate energy to reverse the destructive path that our species has chosen. I join with many other kindred spirits to explore beyond the horizons, to open reluctant minds, to empower the curious, to enliven the senses, and to instill an understanding that the answers to our quest lie in the heart of nature, where they have been nurtured, preserved, adapted, and refined through the spacious eons of time. May we all recognize these natural rhythms and allow them to resonate within our own hearts. Perhaps then, our species can rejoin a multitude of other precious species that have not forgotten how to dance to the beat of life.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength
that will endure as long as life lasts. ~Rachel Carson


Janice said...

Thank you Greg for your vision, your passion, and your hard work. You inspire me!

Greg said...

Thank YOU, Janice, for sharing this vision with me, for all the passion and hard work you put into GLADE, and for enabling the project to come into fruition through Missouri State's contributions and support. It just wouldn't happen without you!