Sarah Yuen, Division 3, College freshman #ws17e-s3d3

Nature is defined as “the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations” (Webster). It is vital for all living beings because it is the source of life. Moreover, I view it as either one of two things: a source of magnificence and beauty, or a force of power and destruction. Nature is the fountainhead of beauty in that it serves as everything that surrounds and encompases our lives. The natural world consists of God’s creations such as the animals, plants, and landscapes that we have come to know throughout the entirety of our existence.

I have always viewed nature in its full beauty and grandeur and never regarded it negatively. Growing up, I felt as if I had a deep personal connection with nature and considered it a part of my body and soul. My emotions would always reflect the weather. For instance, if the weather changed from bright and sunny to a cloudy overcast, my disposition would shift to mirror the weather. The clockwork of weather and emotions was not fully realised until early adolescence when I had an unusual experience with nature. During school break times, I would usually spend my free time outside talking and hanging out with my friends. On that particular day, the forecast was expected to be sunny “with the highs in the eighties and the lows in the seventies”. However, a brief moment passed before the sun was blocked by the looming grey clouds and the sky began to sprinkle with tiny droplets of rain.

After observing the seemingly bipolar weather, I noticed an immediate change in my demeanor; I was not as positive and upbeat as I was before the rain. My friends immediately noticed the shift in my behavior, since this has been an ongoing occurrence. They pointed it out, and we began discussing it and attributed it to the weather. Regardless, I considered my interconnection with nature as a special gift. It was as if I had a sixth sense with nature. I knew I had a special ability because before a shift in the weather, I could feel a momentary sense of uneasiness. As my years of adolescence progressed, I became closer with nature and made it a more prominent part of my life. Not only did I further explore the rich profusion of the wonders of nature, but I also saw the benefits nature had provided to me in my life. As long as I was surrounded by nature, I remained carefree and untroubled by life’s many difficulties.

At this point in my life, I have always cared for nature. Unlike many of the kids at school, I would stay a couple minutes after lunch everyday to pick up the leftover litter and waste. Because I noticed many kids in my generation beging to feel disconnected through the development of social media, I felt saddened. When looking at the littered playground, I was disappointed by the fact that nature’s beauty was tainted by the waste that apathetic people were leaving behind. Wherever I went, people would always leave behind a trace of their presence by leaving a trail of trash behind. This became a problem for me because I realised that I needed to make a difference in nature and the world as a whole. I began taking time off during weekends to help clean up the city’s waste at my local town. It started with just a small group of four with my sister and cousins, but later progressed to over thirty members. As more and more people began joining our small clean up group, I noticed an immediate change in my city. In a way, my city appeared “greener” because it was as if nature was thanking us for cleaning up after ourselves.

Since I wanted to share my passion with more people, I began a club at my school to promote preserving nature’s natural beauty. By creating the club, I met others who shared the same passion and love of nature. Nature was able to bring people to work together in achieving the common goal of creating a greener environment. In my small clean up groups, we were able to recycle plastic bottles and cans and raise funds to advocate for a “greener environment”. My club had made a great positive impact in my city; however, I sought to expand our clean-up project. We decided to broaden our clean up project to areas such as the beach and other parks. In cleaning up the beaches, I believed that I could not only benefit the environment, but also improve the lives of many sea creatures.

As much as I enjoyed and loved to be in the presence of nature, my faith for nature was briefly questioned as news of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma reached my household. Before news of the hurricanes reached me, I felt my “sixth sense” active which caused me to feel uneasy. Because I have family in Texas and Florida, I was extremely concerned for their well being and safety. I have never questioned nature’s authority. However, since I have tried to maintain a cleaner environment, I wondered why nature had to harm and attack my family. I was troubled by grief and terror when I learned that my family’s household had been under siege by the hurricane’s destructive floodwaters. Although I viewed nature in a positive light, this was the first time in my life, I witnessed the brutality and power of nature.

In today’s generation, I noticed how many millennials are physically disconnected from each other. However, through the calamitous crisis of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, I noticed a dramatic change. Instead of viewing the storm as a catastrophic force in ruining the lives of many, I saw it as a way to bring others together. It brought my family closer because we realised that we depended on the efforts of others to provide my cousins in Texas and Florida the help they needed. Once again nature brought many people together to achieve the common goal of cleaning up the environment. Because I knew the extent of destruction the hurricane has caused, I wanted to help in any way possible. I decided to donate the club funds towards hurricane relief.

Throughout my life, nature has always played a prominent role. It has a deep personal connection within me and serves as a source of guidance and jubilation. Overall, I view nature as both a source of beauty and power. In my path to create a cleaner environment, I found that nature has also played a prominent role in many people’s lives and has been able to bring people together. Instead of viewing the recent natural catastrophe of Hurricane Harvey and Irma as something negative, I view it as a way for nature to bring together the people of today’s generation. I believe nature is everything in my life because it is the source of life. It is extremely essential in order for living things to survive and thrive on this planet. My efforts to better the environment had a significant role in nature, which in turn played an essential role in my life. Ultimately, nature’s role in my life has inspired me to clean up the environment which has also influenced others to contribute to the same cause.
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