« minnesota nice (weather)? | Main | leave no trace »

occurence, encounter, experience

United Nations Millenium Development Goal: ensure environmental sustainability

My passion for sustainability does not stem from an overwhelming concern for the future of our natural resources, but rather grows out of my many amazing experiences in nature.

Some feelings, as Joe Nichols speaks of, can only be experienced outside. The song - which follows - reminds me of my buddy's cabin, where sitting around a bonfire next to the lakeshore on a clear night is very common. Often we drift along a line of reeds in a canoe, casually throwing out our line in an attempt to catch some fish. Othertimes, laying on the beach doing absolutely nothing - forgetting our work in the cities - is the best something. It's essentially everything.


Above: the photo is an original by the author of the beach of a small island in Voyageurs National Park.


Below: "The Shade" begins my playlist for its powerful message about the beauty and value of our land. The lyrics cleverly discuss driving vehicles on four-lane highways which, of course, is a major cause of carbon emissions and global climate change - a threat to sustainability everywhere. Addtionally, it holds inherent value, specifically for architects, reminding them that some of the most beautiful elements in design are indeed free.

"The Shade"
Revelation
Joe Nichols

I don't want a fast car
Don't need a four lane highway
There's not another place I'd rather be
Cause out here in the country
Bluebirds sing for nothing
And the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah, the shade comes free with a tree

The tree came with a mountain
Right beside the river where the ground makes one heck of a scene
The mountain counts for something, the view is worth a fortune
And the shade comes free with a tree
I never had a dollar that could buy me what im feeling
But im feeling bout as good as I can be
I need to be reminded when I'm lookin for a bargain
Not to overlook what's right in front of me

I'll never make a killing trying to make a living
But I make enough to raise a family
I bought a piece of heaven off county road 11
Where the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah, where the shade comes free with a tree

I never had a dollar that could buy me what im feeling
And I'm feeling about as good as I can be
I need to be reminded when I'm lookin for a bargain
Not to overlook what's right in front of me

I don't want a fast car
Don't need a four lane highway
There's not another place I'd rather be
Down county road 11
There's this little piece of heaven
Where the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah, where the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah, the shade comes free with a tree


Additionally, my playlist includes

"Message in a Bottle"
The Police
The Police

"It's My Life"
Crush
Bon Jovi

"Champion"
Graduation
Kanye West

"Gone Going"
Monkey Business
Black Eyed Peas

"Breakdown"
In Between Dreams
Jack Johnson

While "The Shade" was included in my playlist for their lyrics, the above titles were selected for a very different reason. On July (07) 7th, 2007, each of the above artists performed in Live Earth: A Concert for a Climate in Crisis. It was a monumental concert spanning the globe in places like New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg. According to Live Earth's website (http://www.liveearth.org/) "Live Earth's 24 hours of music across 7 continents delivered a worldwide call to action and the solutions necessary to answer that call. Live Earth launched a multi-year campaign to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis." Essentially, this embodies the entire world awareness the United Nations is looking for in their goal for ensuring environmental sustainability internationally. The well-known titles included above remind me of these artists who have been active role model's in supporting sustainability.


Obviously, these songs provide an excellent reminder of one's duty towards achieving a state of sustainability, but even stronger are those images which remain in one's head. Take, for example, Voyageus National Park in Northen Minnesota.

On their website (http://www.nps.gov/voya/), they tell the story: "Nearly 200 years ago voyageurs paddled birch bark canoes full of animal pelts and trade goods through this area on their way to Lake Athabaska, Canada." After visiting the area myself, paddling through the same waters, and realizing how long this area has been used and enjoyed, it has sparked a passion for the area - and the earth - which I would like to preserve for future generations.


Above: the photo shows the author hauling swamped canoes to shore in Voyageurs National Park.


Above: the photo taken by the author from a cliff shows the sun setting over islands in Voyageurs National Park.


Above: the photo shows the author cliff-jumping from cliffs in Voyageurs National Park.

The above photos continually remind me of the reasons for preserving this area. I've visited the area on three different trips and each has been equally exciting. Sometime soon, I hope to go back.


Just as I thought I was finished with this blog, a commercial by Ice Mountain bottled water concluded with a quote saying, "When we all do a little, it can add up to a lot." I couldn't help but relate it to sustainability. Individuals often do not believe they can make much of a difference, but if everyone were to pay attention to the computer paper they buy, the devices they leave plugged in, or the amount they recycle, the effect would be enormous.