Center is Catalyst for Change

10/22/08 by John Wear

Like everyone, I have been shaped by my experiences. My childhood days spent on my family’s farm in Rowan County helped direct me to a life devoted to educating others about our environment. That experience laid the foundation for my beliefs and for the creation of the Center for the Environment.

The technological world we now live in has separated us from the quiet rural life that allowed our internal voice to speak to us and tell us to care for creation. The complexity, the sights and sounds, the distractions of the world drown out that simple message. Yet we need to hear that voice now more than ever.

With the compounding issues related to economic well being, food, energy, water, and increasing levels of pollutants in the environment, the next 25 years will be exceedingly challenging. Change in the way we live on this earth will be necessary, and that change will need to take place at a rate that exceeds that which we are degrading our planet.

Centers like ours can be a vanguard for change. We can play a vital role in guiding our communities in their efforts to lessen their footprint. We can help people cope with a world where things that were once predictable no longer are. Our Center can help members of communities see trends and make connections and look beyond the issues to discover the root causes.

Our Center does not advocate for specific issues but instead encourages a community shift to greater awareness and action. In this way, we are able to reach the greatest number of people. We function as a portal allowing involvement by people not traditionally involved with environmental issues.

One of the things I learned during those early years at the farm was the importance of being able to talk to everyone. That seems simple. But truly talking to individuals means understanding them and their worldview. It requires an understanding of where they come from and what has brought them to this point.

We must reach out to those whose worldview differs from ours. We must meet them where they are and help them see how all the pieces fit together, how living lightly on the earth is our only viable choice.

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