Module 1 Assignment: Nature Autobiography
“…we can be ethical only in relation to something that we can see, feel, and Understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.” –Aldo Leopold
Please write a 500-750 word (about 2-3 pages double-spaced) brief autobiography of your relationship with nature. It is due Day 7 by 11:59 p.m. EST.
Step 1: Using Leopold’s terminology above, describe your relationship to nature. You might ask
Yourself the following questions: How do I “see” nature? Is it beautiful or ugly or somewhere in between? Is it powerful or frightening or somewhere in between? Am I more akin to Dr. Seuss’s
Once-ler or the Lorax or Sylvan’s the Last (Wo) man? What do I “feel” about nature? Do I feel joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure about insects or animals or sunrises or white-capped waves? Jot down your responses to these questions.
Step 2: Now try to gather some additional information about your relationship to nature. Think about your most significant experience of nature. Did it involve building a treehouse or visiting a park or getting lost in the woods? Are there one or two experiences of an encounter with the natural world that stand out in your mind? Has your relationship with the earth been shaped by family history? Did your family own land? Were they farmers? Did they hunt? Were they vegetarians? Has an environmental crisis or natural disaster ever affected your family?
Has there been a book, movie, song, or course that you have taken that has affected deeply how you think about the earth? Has religion played a role – positive or negative – in how you experience nature?
Writing your brief autobiography of your relationship with nature
Step 3: Look over your notes for Steps 1 & 2. Reflect on them. What stands out? Is there a specific encounter with a place or animal or insect that looms most significant? Do you see any patterns? Why, more than anything else, have you come to value the earth the way that you do?
Remember, there is no “right” answer to this question. You may value the earth quite a bit or not much at all. And how you value the earth may well change in the future. But the goal of this paper is for you to simply tell your own story, whatever it is, about how you “see” or feel about nature and why you have come to value the earth as you do.
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