Week 16/You+Earth=BFFs

This upcoming Monday is Earth Day.  It is a day that easily gets lost in the shuffle, but truth be told, we need this day now more than ever before.  There is so much emotional suffering due to our disconnection from other humans, animals, and the earth.   This Earth Day, I invite you to read more about my own journey toward environmental stewardship, with the hope that you will cultivate your own relationship with our one and only Earth.

Being a mindful custodian of this planet began early in life for me, starting with awe and wonder for the creatures I discovered in my own backyard.  I was fascinated by lizards, bugs, and of course, my own furry friends. This awe and wonder was nurtured at Unity School during “Lessons in Living”, where we were taught lessons of being good stewards to our planet.

In high school, my love of nature and animals took on a whole new meaning when I studied environmental science. It was like a voice from within started to guide my path, leading me to spend my summers studying abroad in the sustainable summer learning program.  It was during this experience that I truly saw the miracle of nature and the wonders of our natural ecosystems.  This path led me to my current course of study: horticulture.

Through my various courses of study, I have learned an essential truth: humankind and the environment are interconnected AND our wellbeing is contingent on the health of the environment. This has fueled my passion to protect and learn from nature. This year, I challenge you to dig deeper than you ever have before by doing more, learning more, and making an even bigger impact to preserve our earth and all her creatures.

I had the pleasure of seeing Jane Goodall speak at Florida Atlantic University and was inspired by her book and teachings called The 10 Trusts.  I ask you to consider them now:

1. Respect all life
2. Live as part of the Animal Kingdom
3. Educate our children to respect animals
4. Treat animals as you would like to be treated
5. Be a steward
6. Value the sounds of nature and help preserve them
7. Do not harm life in order to learn about it
8. Have the courage of your convictions
9. Act knowing that your actions make a difference
10. Act knowing that you are not alone.

To help you on your journey, I am sharing some of my favorite resources below.  I also encourage you to attend Sacred Treehouse’s Discover the Wonders Open House event on Saturday, April 27th.  Join like-minded individuals and learn more about the services offered at Treehouse.

Happy Earth Day!

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shutt is a student at the University of Florida.  She is passionate about all things green and currently participates in many forms of environmental advocacy, including the #Unlitter movement.  When she isn’t hitting the books, she enjoys cooking plant-based cuisine, composting, and surfing.