Environmental Inspiration Stories
Looking for inspiration? You've come to the right place.
We have asked people to share their stories about what
inspired them to care about their school, their community, and their planet. We
want to better understand what motivates people to get involved and take
action. Is it loving a place? Playing in nature? Having a great teacher or
mentor? Being in nature?
We hope you get inspired reading these, and then choose to share your
own story with us. Go here to submit your story: www.greenschools.net/form.php?modin=57
When I was in 8th grade, my family and I visited the Grand Canyon, and I was instantly captivated by its beauty and grandeur. After visiting the Grand Canyon and going on a field trip with my school to Marin Headlands in 4th grade, I realized the importance of conserving the environment so that future generations can experience the wonders of nature as I have.
Growing up in the Bay Area has shaped my environmental values. I was constantly surrounded by a wealth of information regarding the environment and how precious it is. I was constantly told to be conscious of the environment. One experience that shaped my environmental values is when I saw images of dead birds and fish after an oil spill when I was little. The images made me think about the impact of humans on the environment.
Last year, I went as a volunteer/co-teacher with a fourth grade class on their annual 3-day field trip to Point Bonita. The naturalists who had dedicated their lives to teaching children about nature along with the biodiversity and beauty of the area truly inspired me to get involved with preserving the environment.
In 4th grade, my teacher did an environmental unit in which we learned about simple tasks we could implement at home to reduce resource consumption and depletion. My 4th grade teacher inspired me to change my habits because she taught me how easy it is to make a difference.
I've always felt that the environment and natural beauty had inherent value, and, living in the Berkeley area as a little kid, the values of environmentalism and conservation were instilled in me early on. When I was in 5th grade, I saw An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. More than anything, I was puzzled by the incongruity between the severity of the climate crisis as described in the film and the poor international response. This was when I first realized that our environment was actually in danger, as opposed to merely some part of it being in danger. I understood the consequences of not acting, and was thus inspired to care. Also, last year, I went backpacking in the Grand Canyon, which was truly breathtaking to see in person. I have also been to Hawaii twice, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. These two trips have allowed me to experience the beauty of nature and see what we risk losing.
My dad is from Germany, and he wanted me to learn German when I was growing up, so he spoke to me in German at home and would also download German kids' TV shows from the internet for me to watch. One show that I used to watch a lot was called Logo, and it was a news show that reported on grown-up issues in a format that younger kids could understand. They did a lot of reporting on current events as well as environmental issues, especially global warming and potential solutions for it. Actually, that show is where I got a lot of what I know about things like the consequences of oil spills or the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and it’s what first got me interested in environmental issues. When I was about 10, I took a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a book I picked up there was what sparked my interest in actually doing something to solve environmental issues. The book was about all the environmental problems that are caused by the way we live our daily lives and how we can easily change our lives to be more eco-friendly, like reducing the amount of paper we use and changing how we dispose of it. It made me realize that there a problem, and not a lot of people care, and yet it isn’t terribly difficult to solve.
When I was much younger, I used to litter all the time. I would eat Snickers bars and put the wrappers in fences, but one day the police caught me and told me that I could be fined for littering even though I was young. That scared me, so I stopped littering, although I didn’t know at the time why it was such a bad thing to do. As I grew older, I learned more about environmental issues like sustainability and water pollution in school, which changed my perspective on things like littering and made me realize that we should care about and protect our Earth because our future depends on it.
When I was younger, I always spent time in Washington over the summers at my grandparents’ house. I spent a lot of time outside there: I would take care of the garden with my grandpa, and they had at least five beautiful acres of woods on their property that I loved to roam around in and explore. But when I was twelve, the woods all around their land were clear-cut and developed, and I remember that being very sad for me. Not only was the beauty diminished, losing the woods also meant losing a lot of the wildlife that lived in the area, since things like moose and wolves don’t wander through if there are houses all around. Even though I was young, the loss I felt made me want to try and fix the situation somehow, or at least prevent it from happening elsewhere.
In elementary school, my fourth grade class did a play about aliens who crash-land on Earth and meet some kids who teach them about the environment and sustainability. I was a wind turbine, and I still remember my one line: “We are wind generators, and we make enough wind energy to power this entire city!” I started to notice wind generators more after that, and I’ve felt a special sort of kinship with them ever since. Also, my dad has been involved in environmental politics for a long time. so there’s always been a culture of environmental awareness within my family. Before I was born, he did a lot of work with various organizations to get nuclear power shut down in California, and as I was growing up both he and my mom made it clear how important it is to care for our Earth.
Growing up in Berkeley, I've always been surrounded by a culture of environmentalism. My family and my neighbors have a big, shared backyard and when I was little I would go out to the compost bin in my backyard and play with the worms. Another source of inspiration is my Dad, who works for Rainforest Action Network protecting endangered forests. So, thinking about the environment is just part of my growing up. I've also had the experiences of taking wilderness trips with Camp Widjiwagon, month-long canoe trips in northern Minnesota and the Quetico Park in Canada. These experiences really shape my values because they show me how much there is to lose and inspire my desire to protect plants, animals and the wilderness for future generations to enjoy. We saw 55 bald eagles in 5 days! The parks and renewal of endangered species like bald eagles give me hope for the future.