Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ecology and Ecosystems: How Do You Engage?

There were several intriguing thoughts or principles from the pages outlined; my thoughts however focused on the following section, “The parts take on their specialized roles only within the context of the whole... it is misleading to think of parts as if they were independent. In natural systems, parts and whole interact with and influence each other continuously. What we call parts are in complex webs of relationships; that can never really be separated.” I am writing this on the complexity of the relationships woven not just in our communities, but throughout the world. We affect every person who has lived while we have been on the earth and who will ever live until the end of time.

As I pondered this thought my mind got carried away to those I have affected and the ways in which I affected them while moving through this mortal sojourn. I was born in Vallejo, California and my parents, and grandparents on my father’s side were in attendance, as well as 3 nurses and 2 doctors. I grew up and had 3 good friends in Vallejo, than my family moved to Independence, Missouri where I stayed until I graduated high school. At that point I moved to Provo, Utah where I lived with my brother and his friend. A year later I served a 2 year LDS mission for my church in Donetsk, Ukraine after living at the MTC for 3 months. On return of that mission I lived in Logan, UT where I attended Utah State, and followed that up with a few years in Spanish Fork, and 4 in Orem, UT. I also have visited 40 of the 50 states, and 14 different countries on 3 major trips to Europe.

Why does this matter? In every place we live, visit, or pass through we affect those around us either positively or negatively. I helped shape the personality of my best friends, and family growing up by the experiences we had together. In turn they have shaped their friends and extended family and so on. I have done the same for every other person I have come in contact with since before birth, because just as a leaf landing on a pond causes a tiny ripple so does every single interaction we have with everyone.

How is this possible? Let’s say I pass a girl in the hall and I smile at her, several things could happen with her. She could think I was attracted to her or just friendly, either way a smile brightens her day and changes her reactions to those in whom she comes in contact and so on. Adversely I could cut someone off on the freeway, and potentially negatively affect that person’s day. Even walking by someone and them having to adjust their course even slightly changes their entire life and when they will arrive where they will arrive. Now multiply that by all those I have ever met in every country, city, or place including the MTC and the thousands of missionaries going all over the world; I affected them and that ripple continued to who they came in contact with and so on. Everyone on the planet is affected by every other person on the planet.

Me being on the planet fills a hole of the collective human species that only I could fill, and that is the same for everyone. You have come in contact with me and therefore changed the rest of my life and everyone else I will ever come in contact with, which can easily span the world especially now that social media is around to link us more easily. Even those individuals who have never met are affected because that person fills a void, just like a plane full of passengers. If you have taken up that seat, you affected all the others who wanted the seat and they will fly on other planes and affect those around them. You fill that gap everywhere, from the food you eat, to where you live, sit, classes, jobs, vehicles, Internet pages, etc. Because you are taking those spots no one else can, and it fills that gap like no one else could. Only you will do everything you will ever do. Something has to fill that space, and if you choose not to, you have affected others because your choice made it possible them to fill that spot.

Not only does our influence span the time and space in which we live, but it will forevermore influence those on this planet. Your ripple continues just as water will never be the same after the leaf has touched it. Every atom or particle will forever be affected in its eternal path. We are rewriting history simply by existing. You and I have changed every living being forever, and it is impossible not to.

Every relationship we experience in this life whether small or great creates a footprint on that of all other organisms that we will never be able to take back. Ultimately our goal should be to make that footprint a positive one, one that improves the world around us both socially, physically.

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.