Peter B. Lewis
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|Environmental Stewardship by Peter B. Lewis
The first time I heard the word 'stewardship' in reference to the landscape, was in a meeting with Jim Gale, currently the Director of Interpretation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In 1993, we were touring the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument as he was giving me input for the driving tour of the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. I listened intently as he talked about the importance of teaching visitors why they must stay on the trails and leave only footprints. I went to my old dictionary to check the definition. It referred to "managers" and "airline personnel attending to passengers", not much help there, I thought.
In the past several years I have come to understand that stewardship is caring for an entity, whether it's managing the affairs of an ailing family member, looking after my business or using a litter bag in my fuel efficient car.
For those with disposable cash, it can be donating to a good cause rather than buying redwood lawn furniture. It could be volunteering to help restore a hiking trail, cleaning up all the trash around your campsite, even that of others. It could be car pooling, taking the bus and walking from place to place, rather than driving a car (or SUV).
Stewardship of the land is taking care of the land. Stewardship of our National Parks and other significant areas through which CarTours travels, is protecting these places and attending to their needs.
Environmental Stewardship is first managing yourself in the environment. From there, Environmental Stewardship spreads. Like a steward on a transoceanic journey who attends to the passengers, a steward of the environment, attends to the "passengers" on this spaceship Earth. All the creatures, Flora and Fauna, depend on a balance of the available resources: clean air, sunlight and clean water. As a steward, you do everything you can to ensure a proper balance.
Practicing stewardship is not just for in the National Parks and Seashores. The Eco-systems where you live also need your care. So being an Environmental Steward is an all-the-time thing, if we want to have the kind of world we say we want to have. A world without war and hate, a world where all needs are met, a world where we live in balance.
It has started already. There are millions of Environmental Stewards at work today. If you are one of them, talk with those who are not. In heartfelt consideration, help them understand the importance of conservation, habitat protection and the importance of cleaning up our messes. You might be able to get them to change their behavior, just a bit at first, then more as they notice feeling better when making more environmentally appropriate choices.
CarTours is a seed, growing Environmental Stewards, everywhere.