One Final Paragraph of Advice…

olympic coast sunset

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Yesterday I spent a wonderful hour giving a presentation to a group of 7th and 8th graders at a local school who are spending the remaining weeks of their academic year studying the environment.  How cool is that?  The goal of my presentation was to kick off the unit by showing some pretty pictures of the natural world and to get them psyched up about the environment.  No problem!

Pretty pictures, check.  Psyched about the environment, check.  Message to kids…  Now as a former middle school science teacher I couldn’t just let this opportunity with a captive audience separated from their ipods and iphones go without imparting some kind of message.  I also know that it needed to be concise and easy to understand. The teachers conducted an informal poll of students to determine how many of them had seen a loon in the wild (keep in mind these kids live in rural VT, there are loons on just about every pond around) .  The results were nothing less than shocking, only about 10% of these kids had ever seen a loon in the wild.  My message became very clear: get outside and explore!

Sure I can make an argument that the natural world has intrinsic value and should be protected because of this inherent value, but the reality is that most people will only fight to protect the things to which they are intimately connected, the things they CARE about.   After showing them a bunch of pretty pictures of amazing places (many of which were literally in their own backyards), hearing the oos and aas from the crowd and having a discussion about the value of nature, I read them the following quote from Edward Abbey.  It also happens to be great advice for all of us…

“One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”  Hope it works!

Here are some of the highlights of the presentation, all from back in my film days and somewhat lost in the archives.  Enjoy your day and do something outside!

Otter Cliffs sunrise

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Hoh Rainforest

© Kurt Budliger Photography

lupine and raindrops

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Mt Rainier Reflection

© Kurt Budliger Photography

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~ by kurtbudliger on May 5, 2010.

4 Responses to “One Final Paragraph of Advice…”

  1. all fantastic images, very nice work!

  2. Thanks Joe!

  3. Can people celebrate their wedding anniversary in that place? I just want to know because I want to spend our anniversary in that place!…

  4. Beautiful!! I’m jealous… 🙂

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