Why I am an Environmental Activist

Note: A few weeks ago I was in Chicago for a group interview. We were asked to bring an item to explain why we wanted to be career environmentalists. In the end we only had 45 seconds for our introduction, so I was forced to give a very pared down version of what I had wanted to say. However, in interest of not wasting what I had originally written , I present it in its full version here.

As you can see, I have brought a baseball. And before anyone says it: yes, I know this should be a hockey puck. Growing up in Canada and not playing hockey is nearly grounds for deportation. But my Mom grew up in Vietnam and my father is American, so neither of them could skate and my Dad loved baseball, so here we are.

I played baseball for 14 years, from tee-ball until I entered University. It taught me how to lead and how to follow. It taught me the joys of winning together and, one summer when we lost every single game until the final game of the season, it taught me how to lose with grace.

What I am trying to say is that baseball defined not only my summers, but my childhood. And it is for this reason that I have brought it with me today. For if I had to sum up why I want to be an environmentalist, I’d borrow a saying from The Simpsons’ Helen Lovejoy.

I want to live in a world that doesn’t put ourselves above our offspring, a world where my privileged childhood here doesn’t mean that a child suffers somewhere else. When you’re a kid, you take everything for granted; whatever you experience becomes ‘normal’. People graduating from an American high school this year probably can’t imagine life without the internet. But as we age the realization dawns that we live in a world of constant change, we discover that our childhood was unique to our geography and generation and that we are the artisans of the childhoods to come. And when I bring my kid, or grandkid, out to the diamond to throw this ball around, I want to do so knowing that their future and their world are as bright as mine were when my father and I did the same.

By: Stefan Hostetter