Environmentalism Manifesting as Identity by Traveling to Australia.

by | May 9, 2024 | Honors Enrichment

Annie Welch

Queensland, Australia

In my endeavor to explore environmentalism as identity, I traveled across Queensland, Australia collecting quotes from locals, photos of signage, and any examples of intrinsic environmentalism. I wanted to extrapolate the similarities and differences between environmentalism in a coastal region, to where I grew up in Colorado. I found that there were many similarities in messaging and passion, however Australia seemed to have made more legislative progress in regards to environmental protection. Part of my trip involved visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Through the lens of my snorkeling mask, I saw four clownfish (!!!!), dozens of sea cucumbers, large bright purple and yellow sea stars, a few Moorish Idols, countless massive parrot fish, vibrant string winged oysters, a handful of angelfish and butterfly fish, and somewhat alarmingly, a baby box jellyfish. The abundance of wildlife filled my stomach with butterflies and the only thought in my head was, “Wow, this is so cool.” I will be forever grateful for this experience as it broadened by world view, but also my connection to the natural world. Studying a topic that I am passionate about made it easy and fun to collect photos, notes, and ask questions to the locals around me. “When we are somewhere in nature, open your mind, open your hearts.” Being surrounded by the incredible landscape made it easy to settle in and connect with the natural world around me. I would get lost in the shades of green, the movement of the surf, the constant chorus of the creatures above my head. I felt my heart open and fill up.