I used to laugh at those who my family and I call “tree huggers…” Environmentalists. The word strikes terror in many a conservative heart.
I’m not sure why.
Loving nature is good, right? Standing up for something important is admirable, isn’t it? So how did I grow up believing that these people were crazy? How did I come to the conclusion that environmental activists were crazy? Too passionate? Overly concerned?
Although I somehow grew up with this mindset, it unsettled me. As children of God, aren’t we supposed to care for the earth? Aren’t we responsible for its well-being? (Genesis 2:15)
When I got to college, I was so relieved to finally have the information and ability to become a better steward of the earth. For the first time, recycling facilities were available to me. I’m amazed by the amount of paper that my roommate and I recycle; paper that I would have thrown away at home (some profs waste a lot of paper). I made myself aware of how much water I use when I shower, how many water bottles I could have saved by using my reusable cup instead. I started turning off every light when I left my room. I use power strips. I unplug my alarm clock every morning.
These tiny actions seem insignificant. In a way, they are. What I do does not, on its own, affect the condition or restoration of the earth. If I stopped, the earth probably wouldn’t notice.
But these tiny actions are significant. I do not feel burdened or hassled by them; rather I embrace the lifestyle they produce. I find myself more loving, more considerate, and more satisfied. My attitude toward the earth, toward nature, and – as an extension – toward people is more caring. I invest my time and my life in sustainability and earth restoration. Now it is a part of me… When I examine the beautiful complexity of nature, I fall deeply in love with this planet. I love it. I love the rivers and mountains and valleys and plains. I love the dense jungles and the arid deserts. The oceans. The dirt. The sky. I love a soft breeze on a summer night. I love the sound of water trickling down the side of a mountain. I love the smells and tastes and all the richness I am blessed to be surrounded by.
I love the earth. Out of that love, I commit myself to cultivating and restoring it. I commit myself to enjoying it and living peacefully with it – “hugging” it, in a sense.
I am a tree hugger, because I love Earth.
Cover Photo by Brenda Walker N04/5515332342>