Today in class, we began by writing about how our families and their relationships to the earth have shaped us and our relationships with nature. I'm overly fond of my family history, so this was a really fun exercise for me. I started out by going on and on about a lot of different family members, but after writing in class, I realized that my mom has actually been the biggest influence on my relationship with nature. Having moved around a lot in the US, one of the constants has always been my mom. Of all of my family, her relationship to the earth has really shaped me the most. Don't get me wrong--my father and my mother have both instilled in me an appreciation of the beauty of nature. But the other aspects of my mom's relationship with nature, and her family's relationship with it, has molded my feelings the most.
My mom and her family are from Iowa. (I am as well, but I’ve also lived in Illinois and California.) While no one in recent memory has been a farmer in my family, there are farmers all over Iowa--they are friends, bosses, and clients. My mom still watches over corn prices like a hawk. Farmers are really important to Iowa, and I grew up having a lot of respect for them. One of the reasons my mom (and I) cares so much about corn prices is because they effect who gets to go to college and where they get to go. If farmers are able to sell their crops for a good price, they can afford to send their kids to college, and other community members can afford to send their kids to college. Basically, how well someone manipulates the land determines the education levels of their communities. It isn’t necessarily how well farmers exploit the land (though that is sometimes the case), but how well a farmer can convince Mother Nature to help produce some plants. Coming to college with that connection in mind, I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn about nature while I’ve been here, not just as a reason for matriculation.