I grew-up in the lakeside village of Shanty Bay, Ontario. At that time it was one of the fastest growing areas in North America. Box stores seemed to be growing out of the ground and with them, a greater detachment from the area's rural roots. One day, while leaving one of the malls, I witnessed my mom's reaction to something that I have never forgotten.
My younger brother and I were in bolster seats in the back of our family minivan. We were stopped at a red light when the driver of the car ahead of us, nonchalantly dropped a chocolate bar wrapper out the window. Without hesitation, my Mom got out of the van and strode up to the culprit's car. She bent over, picked up the wrapper, leaned in toward the driver and said, in a tone that was reserved for serious indiscretions: "I have two young boys in my car that would be happy to pick this up, and you're setting a terrible example for them." At that, she turned on her heels and returned to our car, leaving the driver speechless. At the next light, we ended up beside the car and driver flipped my mom "the bird". I imagine it was his way trying to save face in front of his girlfriend.
Although the littering act was small and regardless of whether my brother or I would have pick up the wrapper, her controlled conviction always stood out in my mind as representative of the clash between environmental indifference and advocacy.
After years of environmental education, I now have the necessary knowledge to stand up against a mining development in a river basin's headwaters or new dam proposal and even to perhaps suggest some viable alternatives. My current goal is to find a career path that balances and merges, my guiding and academic interests. It is a privilege to be a part of Earth River. Their combination of advocacy and ambitious expeditions is a path worth following.