I’m sitting in the house my parents bought 50 years ago. I can still remember the names of all the families that lived up and down the street. They’re all different now, and I’m hard put to name any but a few. I still walk through the same fields and woods that I did then. They’ve changed over time, but they’re still the same, too.

A student of mine was telling me about a school she had gone to before. Then she mentioned that she’s lived in seven different places – she thinks, she couldn’t even name them all – gone to four different schools, and she’s only in the 6th grade. What kind of a sense of place can she have, with all that uprootedness?

I’m thinking about when I travel somewhere, come into a new town or village. It may be quaint, picturesque, exotic, exciting. But to me, an outsider, it’s still a collection of buildings and parks, and monuments, or whatever. There’s no real connectedness to it.

I think of environmental literacy as learning to value the landscape, to value the place we live in, to value all the things that live in it with us. But we have to get to know them first. Once we recognize that value, then we will make decisions that are in harmony with all those things.

How do we get that idea across to people, when so many pick up and move around, when our place is just another stop along the way?

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