Our Environmental guide

For one of our music class assignments, we had to compose a song. The first step of the entire process was composition of lyrics, for which we’d gone outside in the open,¬†thinking about “What was most important to us”. Since our school was far from the city, it was rather deserted-there was dead grass and leaves all around. ¬†It was a gorgeous spring day; birds circles trees, chirping noisily, the sun glistened on the leaves, and students sat under trees, each with a pen and journal in our hand. We sat in peace, looking around.

It isn’t just a myth that people happen to be in “awe” or calmness when they’re in nature. The grass, trees, bugs and natural surroundings have the ability to turn someone on when they’re outside; for instance, as people can self-reflect, find solutions to problems and get most creative when they’re out in the open. This especially applies to students from my school, as we’re constantly given assignments or tests requiring essays, videos or documentaries, for which we don’t only have to know the context well, but also make sure that the outcome of our project interesting enough for the viewer or reader. Besides service, activities, assignments, General events and visitors, most students and teachers are rather calm. There’s never a hurry or emergency to go anywhere or do anything, events just flow as they’re meant too. We think differently, without boundaries, finding opportunity for a better day or place. Of course, we face stress, anger, jealousy, homesickness and anxiety like everyone else, but at at one level, being in a small town 150kms north of Tokyo isolates us from the busy world with it’s problems. It’s also the reason why tonnes on people, after retirement aim towards living in a cottage or house in a little town or village, away from civilisation, or watch discovery channel or animal planet on TV; because wildlife over the world, the animals and plants are just so amazing.

On the other hand, those who live in developing countries or crowded cities are constantly rushed. When I lived in Chennai in India, my life had a fixed schedule which I followed. I didn’t imagine doing something different to what I’d always be doing, and woke up every morning knowing what to expect. My parents and elder relatives where under constant stress, having to manage household and work responsibilities simultaneously-if someone fell ill, had to go somewhere, if there’s a power cut or the grocery store is closed; or did something that went against this schedule, all hell broke loose at home. We lived a symbiotic relationship-a disruption in one person’s schedule would change everyone’s day, or week.

Either ways, whether you’re down to nature’s roots in a village or the countryside, or living among a human-based world in the city, you’re gaining one thing and missing out on the other. In terms of their style of living, how they view the lives and tastes of others, which at one level makes us judgemental. The vast differences in location and style of living-a mansion, cottage, building or dormitory, this symbolises the enormous leap that human life has taken.