Kristine McDivitt Tompkins (along with her late husband, Doug Tompkins) worked to establish conservation areas stretching millions of acres across Patagonia on the southern tip of South America. I was inspired by an interview in the documentary 180° South, where McDivitt Tompkins (possibly quoting Gary Snyder?) stated, “You can’t protect what you do not love.”
We have slowly been coming to the realization of how humanity’s insatiable greed and hunger for more is impacting our planet. But the secret to changing our ways may not be enforcing more rules, but coming to love our planet again.
It’s easy to see how a place like Patagonia, with it’s sprawling mountain ranges and diverse ecosystems (which include flamingos!!!) are worth protecting. But just as important is the place where you live.
As Will Braun pointed out in his article in Geez Magazine, The Watershed Issue, all of this is nature. Not just the mountain tops and breath-taking landscapes, but the roads you take to get there. Not just the wilderness “out there”, but the ordinary bits of nature that you can find close to home, like the birds who visit your backyard bird feeder.
And if we can begin to love our own corner of the earth, maybe we can learn to take better care of it as well.