My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.
– Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language
I often find it difficult to articulate exactly why I care so deeply about the environment, why I am so committed to working on these issues. The connection is intrinsic, and it’s hard to comprehend that not everyone feels “it.”
Every morning when I walk outside, my gaze is pulled toward the patterns of clouds spackled across the sky and the way the sun’s soft glow kisses the rooftops in my neighborhood. When I run in the park, I notice the way the trees bend toward each in seeming appreciation, creating tunnels around the paths. I notice the afternoon sun sparkling on the creek and relish the sounds of birds and insects singing in perfect cacophony. Every evening when I walk home, I am drawn to the light streaming through the clouds, creating crepuscular rays above the buildings. And in the darkness, my eyes search for the moon — nature’s nightlight, moving through its cycles — and the stars, their sparkling patterns fraught with allegorical meaning.
And I feel so grateful to be moved by the beauty around me, wondrously simple and complex.
To love the world this deeply is its own reward.
Many people ask whether it is depressing to work on environmental issues, particularly climate change, given the grim predictions that come daily out of the scientific community.
In some ways, it certainly is. I feel frustrated by the lack of action at all levels of government and by corporate campaigns to sow mistrust in science and roll back regulations that protect our collective health. I know that reducing global carbon emissions will require meaningful sacrifices, and I know many people, particularly in the developed world, are unwilling to voluntarily make those changes.
In others ways, I am conscious of the fact that (as one of my favorite professors from college phrased it) the earth remains forever — the question at stake is the future of life as we know it, not the actual existence of our planet.
So I feel both a sense of urgency to experience the wonders of the world, before our unsustainable lifestyles further alter the landscape beyond recognition, and also to fight like hell to protect the places and systems that make this planet beautiful and able to support such incredible diversity of life.
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White
Etymologically, the term “wanderlust” originates from the German words wandern (to hike) and lust (desire.) According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first English appropriation of the word is found in Daniel Garrison Brinton’s 1902 book “The Basis of Social Relation,” where he writes about “pathological variation” of nomadic peoples:
“Among these “neuroses of excitement” which at times seize upon the souls of communities, none is more inexplicable, and none more fraught with consequences than the goading restlessness which has driven single tribes or groups of tribes into aimless roving. This Wanderlust arises as an emotional epidemic, not by a process of reasoning. It drives communities from fixed seats and comfortable homes, transforming them into migratory and warring hordes.”
While I might disagree that my “goading restlessness” has led to an increase in international conflict, I appreciate the contemporary, contextual humor in Brinton’s analysis. Wanderlust has seized my soul and driven me from “fixed seats and comfortable homes.” My travels — over the years, to 30+ countries across 5 continents — have pushed me physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I feel grateful for the opportunity to share some of my experiences with you, through this platform. This website is dedicated to Mom, Dad, and V — who have encouraged me to pursue my passion, supported me as I’ve roved aimlessly, loved me unconditionally, and been wonderful travel partners along the way. We will always be that family in Yosemite: hiking, laughing, marveling at the majesty of it all… having entirely too much fun.
– Carina Barnett-Loro