|PERPETUATE. The words preserve, maintain, conserve, sustain, continue come to my mind when I think of our Earth, and in particular, my beloved Georgia Coast. (art by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)|
This past weekend (January 13th), I attended the second annual 100 Miles Coastal Conference on Jekyll Island. The theme of this conference was "Choosing to Lead." I was asked several questions about my involvement in taking environmental action for the Earth related to climate change and our Georgia Coast.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
|ME? RUTH SCHOWALTER, aka Hallelujah Truth on Jekyll Island, Georgia, 2018; Second Annual 100 Miles Conference: Coastal Conservation in Action/Choosing to Lead. (photo by Tony Martin)|
I didn't have a ready answer. And I really wanted one. After all, aren't I involved in environmental activism?
Here are some items of action I have accumulated:
1. I am the wife and field assistant of the author of Life Traces of the Georgia Coast. (All you have to do is read the book and see how present I was in my husband Tony Martin's jaunts up and down the Georgia Coast and the majority of its barrier islands. I supported his research and documented his work through photos and blog posts.
2. Even before Tony's Life Traces book came out, I had illustrated a children's story, "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia," set in the Bahamas and about endangered species there. The book is used in the Bahamian schools.
3. Over the years, I have generated numerous images and written blogs about the Georgia coast. See these blog posts as examples: Life Cycle of the Moon Snail: Lions of the Tidal Flats, Eternal Sacred Images: We Find Ourselves in Nature, Substituting Beauty for the Spiritual: An Interview with Carol Ruckdeschel.
4. I began a collaboration on the life-cycle of the American Oystercatcher with Jenifer Hilburn, then the ornithologist on St Catherine's Island. See a couple of the blog posts that documented this process to get the idea of our collaboration: Getting Inside of the Egg, Embracing Hope as a Strategy for Conserving the Environment. I would love to complete this body of work in the future to bring attention to endangered animals along the eastern coast of the U.S.
5. For the past several years, I have been integrating the improvisational system of InterPlay with science communication. In addition to training undergraduate science majors, international scientists and researchers how to express their ideas more effectively, I engage the general public in "play" around topics of evolution, the environment, water monitoring, and science as fact. Here are two blog posts: Improvising Trilobite Eyes: InterPlaying with Evolutionary Concepts at the Atlanta Science Festival,and Shyness Evaporates: College Science Students Use InterPlay Storytelling Methods to Convey Their Nature Observations.
But, how do I condense what I do into one polite concise but descriptive response? I find myself lacking confidence in the face of a lack of clarity. I need a vision statement that will embrace it all!!!
Perhaps I am a LOVER...A LOVER of the land as author, poet and wildlife ecologist J. Drew Lanham talked about the closing keynote of the 100 Miles Conference this past Saturday. He equated being a lover with being a conservationist. Here is his definition of conservation:
"Conservation is caring about something intensely enough to save it for later for others." -J. Drew Lanham
This caring for the environment equates LOVE. We are LOVERS, those of us who care for the land, striving to take action to save it for later for others.
Could my answer be: "I am a LOVER of the LAND. I care intensely enough about it to save it for later." ?
That's Coffee with Hallelujah. Soul Blog with me. I want to know what you are doing as a caretaker for the Earth? Do you care intensely enough about the Earth to save it for later for others? Are you too a LOVER of the LAND?
|PERPETUATE. This image began back in 2014 as an outcome of the work that I was doing with the ornithologist, now Altamaha Riverkeeper, Jenifer Hilburn. We were collaborating on a story about the American Oystercatcher. She was the scientist taking action to perpetuate the life of this coastal bird, and I was the artist, listening to the plight of this endangered species and interpreting the emotion of the situation. Titled, "Perpetuate," this piece was an "outside" image from our storytelling effort. That is, I put myself into the image as the central figure as way of engaging myself personally in our conservation storytelling. By being front and center is the way I figure things out. I put myself into the Georgia Coast landscape. In viewing the life cycle of the American Oystercatcher, I was able to see where it nested in a "scrape" nest on thin bars of marsh land covered with oyster shells. The nests are threatened by rising sea levels, predators, and mindless boat visitors. In my hands, I hold "Baby New Soul," who embraces a baby alligator. Yes, there appears to be a story here. Stay tuned. (art by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter)|
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to Tony Martin, whose amazing life's work takes
him again and again to the Georgia Coast. In great appreciation to the Emory University project, The Georgia Coast Atlas, that funded this trip to the 100 Miles Second Annual Conservation Conference.