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UIUC RST 242 - Environmental Autobiography RST 242

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Seol 1Environmental AutobiographyEsther SeolProfessor FarrRST 24212 December 2020Seol 2Environmental Autobiography Nature is all around us. Especially during my adolescent years, I spent a great amount of time outdoors, enjoying what nature had to offer. Needless to say, I made a lot of great memories outside, whether that be with other people or just when I am alone. One outdoor environment from my childhood that is associated with fond memories is my own neighborhood. As Leopold stated,”conservation is a state of harmony between men and land” (Leopold 1966). I would say that there was a state of harmony between my neighborhood and my two neighborhood friends and I. We respectfully spent our summer days in the neighborhood during our childhood.We would bike or rollerblade through the neighborhood, often chasing down ice cream trucks on unbearably hot days. Although we spent every day together biking in our neighborhood, it was a new adventure as nature offered something new for us to do each day. We would either swim in my friend’s swimming pool, visit another neighborhood’s lake, or take trips to the school playground. In The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature, Kellert says that "The human need for nature is linked not just to the material exploitation of the environment but also the influence of the natural world on our emotional,cognitive, aesthetic, and even spiritual development" (Kellert, 2000). This statement connects to my experiences in my neighborhood because it has influenced different aspects of my life. It shows how nature, especially if there was a special connection to a specific part of nature, can impact you. Nature can impact us in ways we do not even expect. For me, biking through my neighborhood has continued to impact me as it allowed me to feel closer to nature, even if that means that it is just a step outside of my front door.Seol 3In Reading Water and Minds, Heberlein says that “the driving force of attitudes is emotion, or as social psychologists call it, affect” (Heberlein, 2012). This explains why I have such a strong connection to my neighborhood and even riding my bike. Whenever I spent those days outside biking around my neighborhood, positive emotions were being associated because I was having fun. Since emotion is a strong factor into creating attitudes, the positive emotions that are associated with my neighborhood prompted me to also hold positive attitudes with my neighborhood. Naturally, these factors have led me to valuing this outdoor environment. Biking around my neighborhood reminds me of many fond memories, which has brought me to becoming attached to it.As Rothman mentioned, “For better and worse, the right to do what one pleased-wherever, whenever, however, and with whomever-came to be the social definition of freedom. No more basic American right existed” (Rothman, 2000). That is what it felt like for me and my friends. Once we stepped out of the house with our bikes, we did not have to worry about our parents, our chores, or our summer homework. We felt a burst of freedom whenever we rode around on our bikes. There was no one to tell us what to do when we were outside. Even though we were in our own neighborhood, it felt like a huge forest, where all of our cares and worries disappeared. I realized during these times that you do not have to look far to find nature as it can just be what’s in your neighborhood.In conclusion, an outdoor environment that I associate fond memories with is my neighborhood. As I spent every summer day of my childhood riding my bike around the neighborhood, I came to appreciate nature in any way, shape, or form. I am grateful for all the memories I was able to make, and I realize now how precious the outdoors is.Seol 4ReferencesHeberlein, T. A. (2012).Reading Water and Minds . In Navigating Environmental Attitudes (pp. 14-33). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Kellert, S. R. (2000). The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature . In: S. R. Kellert & E. O. Wilson (Eds.), The Biophilia Washington D.C.: Island Press. Leopold (1966). Round River . In A Taste for Country (pp. 188-202).Rothman, H. K. (2000). Saving the Planet . Ivan R Dee., Chicago, IL. Chapter 5,


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