Definition – Environmentalist: Any person who advocates or works to protect the air, water,animals, plants, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects. While the actual definition of this word sounds good to me when I personally think of what an environmentalist is I automatically think about the same thread that can often tie together any collective label that tacks on an ist at the end (activist, feminist, racist, anarchist, elitist…) – anger. For better or worse, and probably for both, I conjure up an angry person or people.
Over the last two weeks I’ve attended the premiere of a locally made documentary on Montana coal export to China, a two-day conference on human trafficking, and six days of nature films as part of our annual International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF), many of which spoke about environmental degradation and pollution. I volunteered at a food pantry that gives out food to families in need and yesterday I led a team from our mindfulness center that joined the efforts of hundreds of volunteers in the 11th Annual Clark Fork River Clean-Up. So over these last two weeks I’ve spent time learning, connecting with and developing understanding around a variety of complex, major issues that affect our local communities and the world.