My dear freshman friends, final week is coming and stress seems to be unavoidable. Just like you, I have been buried in work, papers and exams. However, perhaps such busy schedules also signal the time for us to take a break in order to achieve full power for the fight. I am recommending one way to do so is to attend to nature. We all are lucky to be living in this wonderful green campus, so why don’t we just go out and experience a bit of ecological happiness? It is a precious state of the mind that needs to be maintained by protecting the environment.
Ecological happiness refers to the feelings derived from the surrounding serene and harmonious nature. It is something, I believe, we all have experienced: calmness of the soul and serenity of the mind. It is the happiness to be standing in front of the ocean and listening to its soothing lullaby, it is the happiness to be hiking and enjoying fresh air, or it could just be the simple happiness we want to deliver to our beloved when we give them flowers as a gift. In Ecological Imagining class, in response the question “Where are we happiest”, many of my classmates indicated that they felt happiest where nature provided them with sunlight, openness, serenity, comfort and so on. Unlike the kinds of happiness in which we experience moments of extreme pleasure, happiness in nature is gentle and consistent. It appeared and reappeared in our weekly postings as consistent motivation for us even when we were depressed. Perhaps it is the freshness of the air, the brightness of the colors or wonders of the sounds that heighten our moods and create happiness.
We Mawrters are all lucky to be living in such a beautiful campus, with all shades of green from the trees to the grass, with squirrels hiding around and birds singing… Why don’t we take a break from our busy schedule to enjoy what nature has got to share! Walk around the campus or find a corner of your own and just let the environment calm you down from all the stress. You will realize that eco-happiness is not hard to find.
However, it is much harder to maintain eco-happiness, especially when human beings are destroying nature for other short-term benefits. As it is derived from beautiful and harmonious nature, eco-happiness does not exist where elements of nature cannot flourish or are being destroyed. Yet natural habitats are being exploited and resources are being used up. Painful as it sounds, human beings are the one to cause our own loss of happiness. We interrupt the harmony of the environment and replace it with deterioration. Every day, we see, hear and read about the degradation of nature caused by human activities. We rely on natural resources for our survival and when we survive, we take advantage of nature to thrive on. We are deforesting for farming land and commercial woods, using up coal for automobiles to pollute the air, killing insects to pollute the soil and water and so on. What we are doing create short-term happiness and satisfy our immediate interest. We earn money and materials. We live better, but only for a short period. Soon, all the resources and nature will no longer exist. The satisfaction will have robbed us our consistent source of happiness. Then, instead of looking at the environment with a soothing forest, we are faced with deforested areas, instead of enjoying fresh air, we are concerned about diseases caused by air pollution, instead of admiring a river, we stay away from the polluted water and face with biodiversity deterioration. Not only do we steal nature of its harmony but we also risk our long-term happiness at the purchase of short-term benefit.
My dear friends, it is now time for our generation to acknowledge the destructions that human beings are doing to the environment so that we can protect eco-happiness. We have been expressing our eco-happiness with a complimentary and celebratory language. Ecological happiness has such appeal that it has led many of us to look at nature through the eyes of the happiness-searcher. We celebrate nature as an art or a beauty that one can hardly resist. However, the time has come when it is crucial to point out how natural resources are being misused and how the environment is being polluted. Even more important than expressing our appreciation of nature is our care and love for it. Instead of always attending to only the beauty and harmony in nature, we should also take its degradation and deterioration into account. We should acknowledge ourselves and the world of the decaying environment as a result of human activities. I believe humans would not be able to recognize our paradoxical activities if we keep celebrating the beauty of nature only. The harmonious nature, beautiful as it might be, directs our attention away from what need to be done. Representing the decaying nature with a coat of beauty would do more harm than good. It is the fact that something we truly care for is disappearing that urges us to protect it. If one argues that looking at nature with a decaying view makes that person want to get away instead of protecting it, then he just does not love it enough.
My dear friends, we have been taught to be independent, we have been learning to take care of ourselves and we are becoming responsible for our lives. The same attitude should be given to our own happiness. Happiness is something, I believe, any one is looking for in life. Ecological happiness is simple and precious. Our generation, if we want to maintain that beautiful feelings, should be aware of the many ways in which human beings have been destroying nature. We need to speak up the truth and take action to protect the environment, in order to protect our own happiness!