"...He prayeth well, who loveth well, Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best, All things both great and small;
for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all..."

The Rime of the Anchient Mariner -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Trash Talk in the Garden of Eden

I've been looking forward to retirement for a long time, but alas, I'm only almost 30. Plus, this year the world is supposed to end, which is a bummer. I think about this once every other day!

It's a very brisk 66 degrees & overcast in San Blas on this February morning. I have a lot of eustress-ie the type of good stress that motivates you to get work done. I'm writing a Project Design for the first time for a grant proposal that got approved. It's exciting in one way, but it's a lot of work, plus I have to craft objectives that I will meet in a given timeline. I can tell that this is going to be some hard work.

When it comes to environmental awareness (and every other aspect too), there's a big disconnect between knowledge v. actions. For example, last week I gave some Environmental Education classes at a Youth Camp as part of San Blas' Migritory Bird Festival. We talked about habitat, trash, trash separation, habitat, birds, and trash. We were camping on this beach-front eco-campsite, and just 500 yards away behind some trees was their growing trash pile of different types of trash. With the kids we talked about the impact that humans have on habitat, we talked about trash, and they knew all about separation and the 3/4/5 R's. Then I have them bring me the trash bin, which had tons of recyclables, and I made them separate them (even though they already knew about separation). After that, we went to the trash mountain and saw the types of trash. I had them write letters to the management making a suggestion to separate trash etc. It was great, but the day didn't feel so successful when I saw kids putting trash in a singular trash bag, or just tossing their trash in the campsite (I corrected them of course), but they stand there and argue that they didn't do it. So what they know and what they do are two different things...and how do you bridge that gap? How do you make people believe/realize that they're living in the Garden of Eden? Of course it takes YEARS...

I can only hope that my grant money will enable positive and early action that is part of the culture shift needed in this town. San Blas is an amazing place, with over 400 bird species, while Mexico is considered the 3rd Mega-biodiverse countries in the world.

Sometimes my work is fulfilling, other times its disheartening. Even so, I'm meeting great people, and having the opportunity to do some great things. Part of me wants to travel to Europe or South America after I finish with the Peace Corps, but then the other part of me is tired of living out of a suitcase.

This is the point where I stop myself about thinking about the future, because I have a Project Design to write.