Today the letter E is for enjoying the environment. People talk about protecting the environment, but I feel like sometimes that can become an abstract thing if you do not spend time in nature. If you go for walks in open areas, you will gain an appreciation for the land around you. I do believe we should be stewards of the land, and find sustainable ways to utilize it. The Native Americans viewed themselves as stewards of the land they lived in, and there is something quite appealing about this.
We do not want to cut down all the forests and clear all open lands to construct new buildings, do we really want to do that? Does this make sense when old ones could be renovated? Allowing beautiful old buildings to remain vacant never made sense, but that is just my take. Also back when I was living in the mountains I never understood the push to create many city style parks because I always thought the point of living there was to be out exploring nature.
In Southern California there are many empty buildings that seem to have been forgotten, yet new ones seem to be going up every day. Also, I hope we do not forget the value of our open spaces, and spending time in nature. People think they have to have a gym membership to be fit, but I have got in shape and lost weight by simply being a pedestrian and bicyclist in Southern California. I make time to take more scenic routes, and to go on hikes when time allows. I want to devote more time to hiking this spring, and that is something I intend to do.
However, I do appreciate living in a part of SoCal where people still value keeping some open spaces, and I think it makes it easier to enjoy the environment around you more this way. People always say will move out of California if you do not like it, but such comments are not helpful or realistic. Some people actually like living here, and they do not want to move thousand of miles away from their family just so they can enjoy being in open spaces. I think a more sustainable approach would be to renovate old buildings and down town centers that have often been displaced when new and larger stores come into town.
People forget that in the recent past California had many open spaces, and many of the first settlers were sustained by the agrarian efforts such as orange farming. It would be a shame if we forget about this past. More than ever growing plants, or using plants found in nature is a way to connect with the environment. For instance, people are surprised to find out there are edible plants all around them. I do not advise to just start eating things willy-nilly without consulting someone who knows what they are talking about, but it just seems disconcerting to become detached from the land and lack knowledge of plants and animals in the surrounding area.
Every time a mountain lion or coyote comes down out of the hills people freak, but there was a time when they roamed this region far and wide. Wild animals do not understand they are not supposed to go into certain areas, and I just wish people were not so outraged when they do. Most wild animals are fearful of humans, and only start interacting with them when people give them food. This is why you should never leave trash out for bears or coyotes to get into.