This Nature Lover is Taking Action for a Vibrant Future
By MAPS Ambassador Uttama Anderson
When I was a little girl, I played every day out in the woods of southern Ontario. I made secret forts, listened to the birds, watched the bugs, picked berries, and examined the plants. It was a magical place for me. As I grew up, I thought there would always be such wild places, accessible and healthy. Now I understand that if I want future generations to experience the same magic, I need to take action.
Some years ago, at a time when the negative effects of our lifestyles on the planet were really becoming obvious, I woke up to the reality of what I had known as a child: we’re all connected, and what we do to Nature we do to ourselves. Parvati’s trip to the North Pole showed me how much she lived that reality. Hearing about her experience and her heartfelt plans to protect the Arctic Ocean, I knew I wanted to commit myself to the cause. I offered to help.
Today, we face a planetary crisis, and I see that there is nothing I can take for granted. Nature is under siege, starting with the rapidly melting Arctic sea ice. That melt is disrupting our global weather patterns and destabilizing our planetary ecosystem. At Parvati.org, my colleagues and I hear directly from Small Island Developing States and sub-Saharan countries who are experiencing the direct effects of the loss of Earth’s air conditioning system. Their lands are becoming uninhabitable, and people and wildlife are suffering. Canada’s fresh water sources and forests are also in danger.
I am joyfully and passionately volunteering with Parvati.org to establish the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS), as I know MAPS will help restore peace and balance to our world. How the forests and lakes of my homeland will look in the future, I do not know, but any chance they have begins with MAPS. I feel it is my responsibility as a global citizen to make sure we can all benefit through the simple action of MAPS.
I consider it a gift to be able to work on this project. I have learned so much. Yes, that includes information about the Earth’s weather and ocean systems, but I have also been challenged to strengthen a wide range of skills like organizing, making cold calls, and even helping to build costumes! I have discovered that I deeply enjoy marching in rallies, collating MAPS treaties for mail-out, and orienting volunteers to the MAPS message.
But even more significant than these outer skills and activities is the inner transformation MAPS is bringing about in me. I have learned that I have a choice how I react to any circumstance. I have become more than willing to give up lifestyle choices that make me suffer. I have discovered that being in service to something so all-encompassing has made my heart grow. Though I have stumbled many times on this path, I feel an increasing inner kindness and love that allow me to stay open to what comes.
It’s my belief that all over the world, people are waking up to understanding how interconnected we all are. I see it in the light in the eyes of the passionate volunteers of all ages who join our team. This global paradigm shift is creating a compassionate wave of action for all life.
I really enjoy telling people about MAPS. Many understand the brilliance of this effective response and are inspired to do what they can to help. It motivates me to keep going and to keep motivating others for MAPS. I believe anything and everything is possible when people act in harmony for the greater good.
Today, Nature is under extreme stress. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. When I walk my dog in the woods of Toronto’s High Park, we both feel the invigorating energies of the trees and the plants and animals. It turns out the magic is still there. When I consider the future, thanks to MAPS, I can choose optimistic joy.
Uttama Anderson is an environmentalist, art therapist and an avid tree-hugger living in Toronto, Ontario. Her passion and focus are on creating the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary to keep the planet healthy.