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The Green Life: How to Instill A Sense of Wonder

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July 23, 2009

How to Instill A Sense of Wonder

Natural wonderWonder for the natural world -- it's one of the best resources we can use in gaining people's support for saving the planet. Unfortunately, the resource seems to be limited these days. Statistical and wonky arguments often flood the discourse about nature, and as important as they are, these jargon-filled discussions can dull natural enthusiasm in a hurry.

Rachel Carson, arguably the founder of the modern environmental movement, wrote: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.”

A great way to renew the inspiration she wrote about is to pass it along. Earlier this month, we wrote about the importance of getting kids outside, and instilling in them some wonder for the natural world. To quote Carson again: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it.” She encourages us to rediscover with that child the “joy, excitement, and mystery” in the world.  

A Carson-inspired initiative, sponsored by the EPA’s Aging Initiative and other nonprofits, the “Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest” asked contestants to team up across generations and express their impressions of nature by way of poetry, essay, photography, or dance.

View the finalists  – and vote for the ones that most inspire you – here.

--Jamie Hansen

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