When I’m in the woods or at the water’s edge, the closeness with Nature brings me joy and peacefulness. As I gaze into a flower or feel the presence of a tree near me, I experience a sense of belonging and interconnection. Yet I find the same overflowing joy when I’m within a harmonious group of people. I have the privilege of being the person in Parvati Foundation who trains interested people to be MAPS Ambassadors and volunteers. I can barely contain my happiness every time people join me for an orientation.
Nature Awakens the Hearts of Humanity
In these trainings, I’m in a virtual room with people from around the world who love Nature and wish to take action to protect all life. When I ask them what drew them to MAPS, their answers echo my own sentiments. Nature unifies us all. I feel my inner call to action and selfless service is answered by being part of this group of concerned citizens. I am humbled as I’m introduced to the diverse rainbow of perspectives and politics, religion and celebrations that come to Parvati Foundation. However people have heard about MAPS, they arrive ready to serve one common goal: safeguarding our beautiful blue planet with MAPS. We are the world.
The training we do gives everyone a common vision. Our communications handbook gives us common words. Volunteer onboarding provides a framework and ideas for action. Charged with this trifecta of information and training, MAPS Ambassadors are able to take action and give voice to the MAPS message wherever they are. I have also seen the power of their own hearts. Ambassadors effect change as much through how they feel as what they say.
This is the MAPS approach. We speak to the hearts of humanity with optimistic enthusiasm. I have the fun of using my voice to present the story of Parvati Foundation. Our presentation shows participants the state of the world, then lets them know there is a most wonderful response to the humanitarian and ecological crisis we face: MAPS.
I feel such joy when I share the story about MAPS with others from around the world who are inspired by its message. I am also moved every time when I hear our volunteers speak from their hearts, about why MAPS is an answer for their need to look after the natural world they love so much. Call me a dreamer, but I envision a day soon when the energy of the trees and the gently blowing flowers will reflect the peaceful, loving and interconnected communities they are thriving in. I’ll see you there!
Uttama Anderson is an environmentalist, art therapist and avid tree-hugger living in Toronto, Ontario. Her passion and focus are on creating the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary to keep the planet healthy. She is the Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator with Parvati Foundation.
Click here to learn how MAPS volunteers around the world are finding joy through MAPS