Do you call yourself an “environmentalist?”

Anyone else feel that this is a vague and inaccurate label or term? “Environmentalist” means you are…what? Aware of the environment or ecology or systems theory or what? The environment, that awesome and nondescript place. But beavers kill trees, so is a “good environmentalist” supposed to club beavers? (Blatant “Arrested Development” hoist) It’s just more of the same display of vague language that dilutes any meaning and specificity that could potentially increase positive discourse.

Maybe someone should start a movement for “technologists.” Wouldn’t that ruffle some non-endangered species’ feathers? How about this exchange:

“Yeah, I work as a computer programmer.”

“Oh, so do you technologists believe that our technology can help our society progess?”

“Ummm, I make graphics for Mac programs, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about exactly without more information.”

“But all you technologists care about are computers.”

“Ummm, I work for about 40 hours a week and have lots of hobbies and a family and yes, use some cool gadgets to help me live a balanced life.”

Anyway, I’ve beaten that point to death. But how weird is it to be called an “environmentalist” when I really spend my energy dealing with river issues, for instance. I also am just shy of officially becoming a “psychologist.” The word “environment” carries a very large amount of importance in my work, too.

Hrmm, maybe I should call myself a “social environmentalist” then. There’s social ecology, too. No wonder I’m confused.

And when did the phrase “Global Warming” hijack anything and everything that has to anything to do with conservation and ecological issues?


Saying Good-bye

Almost 4 years in one place – one house, one town, one main job (grad school). This is the longest I’ve been in one place in quite some time. I suppose I lived in Ann Arbor for longer during my undergrad yeras, but there was a new room or new house every year. Even going back to Ann Arbor for over a year afterwards was great, but still different.

But this place, this land, this community, this endeavor, these people – it’s going to be so hard to leave, and I’m sure leaving won’t be just driving away. It’s already started, and I’m sure it will continue after the house is packed up and we roll out of town. The connections, the trials, the work, the experiences. Rich. Heavy.

It is safe to say that I have never connected to people and a place like I have here. Truly. It speaks to the power of this place and people, but also to my own journey and growth. It has rarely been easy, but I’ve gotten my hands in things I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve pushed harder than I’ve ever pushed.

The wild thing is that we don’t even know where we’ll be living next year…where the boys will be in daycare. Sure I know where my Internship will be, but there’s no place lined up, no other income. Fortunately, there are some family and friends in that area, but they can’t really put a roof over our heads for the most part.

But the attention right now is on the good-bye. There are some rituals in my program that will happen in a week. I’ll have to think of some for myself as well.

The way life unfolds continues to blow me away. Even at this moment, I am seeing a client/patient who has been through a great deal of loss recently. He is struggling to say good-bye while at the same time moving forward with his own health. Recently, I reminded him that my time here is limited as well. My next move is public knowledge. He quickly tensed up, fearing another loss and more abandonment.

So, I’ll finish up this section of my training with a parallel process working it’s magic. We are both learning how to let go, to say good-bye, to open up to new beginnings, and to just saying “Yes” to the unfolding of life. Right at this critical intersection, we’ll have to say good-bye to each other.

I have left places with a bummed heart. I have left places with a middle finger flying in the air as I drove away. I have left places without barely noticing. I have left places wondering why I was leaving.

I will leave this place in such a new and different way. In that process I will say “Good-Bye.” I hope I do it well.