NWCCI participant Raja Adnan Ali is studying tourism and hospitality at Whatcom Community College. He is doing his internship at Wild Whatcom, a non-profit organization dedicating to promoting environmental education in Western Washington. He writes about learning about sustainability in the US, and what he will take back to his community in northern Pakistan.
This world is full of natural resources and human beings are the biggest consumers of these resources. Nature, where we are living with animals and plants, is our entire ecosystem. To maintain this system we need to find solutions to save our resources from being wasted. One of ways to save the ecosystem is to develop renewable sources of energy or to care about the environment. If we don’t use all these resources properly so we could have to face natural disasters such as landslides, floods, climate change, vanishing ice and environmental damage. Why do humans exactly have such an incredibly large influence on other species and the natural world? We are unique among every species as we survive and reproduce in a wide variety of environments through cultural adaptations.
I am currently doing my unpaid internship in Bellingham with Wild Whatcom Boys Explorers club as a trainee mentor. It’s a non-profit organization focusing on environmental protection. I am hoping to gain more insight and experience in the way the Explorers serve and connect with the land. I am very grateful to be a part of this program and I am excited to share some of my own experience and culture from my community in Northern Pakistan particularly Fairy Meadows, where I grew up, with the Explorers Club.
During my first exploration, the boys shared the importance of the Explorer’s culture of jobs within the group and the potential safety hazards that we would need to watch out for. The boys did a great job and really stepped into their leadership roles. Wild Whatcom aims to help people educate themselves about sustainability and pass our accumulated knowledge on to our fellow students and community and raise awareness toward critical environmental issues that impact our school, community, and daily lives.
They have three areas of programming to a variety of ages: Boys and Girls Explorers Club for youth ages seventeen to fourteen years old; Wild Whatcom Walks for families; and Neighborhood Nature school-based programs. The main obligation of Wild Whatcom is to foster a lifelong connection with nature and community through outdoor exploration and service.
Wild Whatcom educates the Bellingham community about the dangers of non-sustainable living and teaches alternatives that will promote a healthier future. It also provides information and support for reducing one’s ecological footprint in business practices and at home. Since I joined this group, I have learned many sustainability techniques and how they work along with environmental conservation and wild life protection. One core purpose of joining this organization is to know how to meet our own needs without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Similarly, while working with this organization, I learned about the three main areas of sustainability: environment, society, and economy. To be sustainable, each of these elements should be healthy. Improvements to any one of these should not make any of the other worse, since sustainability connects environment, economy, and society. There are also many interconnected global issues; population growth, poverty, consumption, conflicts, and the environment all affect each other in many ways.
Ultimately, I want to organize and introduce these kinds of trips and environmental programs for young people. This could be a practical way to help the local community that I grew up in, through the knowledge, experience, ability, training and skills that I learned during my short period of time with Wild Whatcom. Likewise, I became familiar with all concepts such as eco system diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity. Furthermore, we should try to become aware of the ecological deficit, ecological footprint, environmental justice, environmental scarcity and global issues, such as what occurs when we use resources more quickly than they can be renewed. Another major issue is the area of the Earth’s productive surface that it takes to support everything a person uses in his/her daily life. These environmental practices and concepts are totally absent back in my village. I will definitely try to educate the people there about what I have learned from Wild Whatcom during my intern tenure. In a way that sustains natural resources and doesn’t disturb natural beauty of that area and gives more benefits to the local community. I will embrace the following motto:
- We do care about Environment, where ever we are!
- Health, Safety & Environment
- Keep the area clean & green
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.