“We do not inherit the world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Duty on us to return it to them in the absolute situation” ~Native American Proverb
Sustainability is imperative. It is the basis of our world’s history that stretches tens of thousands of years into the past. Yet, somewhere along the line of time, this reality evolved into a mere concept; a concept which then became a choice. Unfortunately, given this choice, there have been many shortsighted decisions made to uproot a once innate ecological way of life. These decisions, defined by living beyond our resources, have not considered our future generations or environment. These choices have become the status quo. Now, as it appears to disgruntled sectors of our population, what was once intrinsic tradition has, at its worst, transformed into a mere chore or rather, a luxury of the affluent. But of course, neither is true.
The truth is that we already know what to do; in fact, a great deal is already happening. Remembering and honoring the ways of our ancestors, who lived harmoniously with their fellow species, environment, and planet as a whole, initiated this change. However, this desire to move forward requires formulating creative, yet realistic, ways to live with the rapid advances and increased reliance on technology. Furthermore, applying these sustainable concepts to an enormously larger population intently focused on global economics requires a practical model in order to achieve ecological balance. I believe this equilibrium is possible as many people are waking up to rewrite the story of our projected future.
Enter the Montana Dietetic Internship, one of the only internships bold enough to emphasize the theme of sustainable food systems. This internship is the next critical step in ascertaining a highly respectable level of education and skill that aligns with my passion and values. I sincerely feel that it will allow me to continue to think judiciously while standing up for what I believe in, especially in regards to the future of our generations and planet, while providing me with realistic avenues in which to do so. It is the unlimited potential of this reality that ardently fuels me to forge down my chosen path to seek a career that is capable of strongly impacting the future of our world. In my eyes, this happens to be the field of dietetics.
When considering the fact that most people eat approximately three meals a day, this profession has the highest probability of reaching out to the most people in comparison to all other careers. By influencing food choices through education, counseling, and leading by example, not only is the health of the individual going to improve, but also that of the family, the farmer, the community, and the ecosystem. In essence, by affecting the choices people make concerning their nutrition, we potentially influence the surrounding environment connected to them. Person by person, choice by choice, the web of change grows until we ultimately affect the health of the Earth. It all ties together.
Although in my daily life I am aware of the great impact we have on each other and our environment, my experience working in the Bastyr Center for Natural Health the past several months, where I led nutritional counseling appointments in a team care setting, provided an atmosphere in which this sensation was profoundly enhanced. My Clinical Nutrition Practicums allowed me to vastly expand my awareness of the reality of the emotional and physical health struggles felt by so many. In the presence of confusion, pain, and hopelessness, it became clear in many instances that the first step in healing is being heard. Therefore, the act of listening and establishing rapport provided the basis of my support and allowed the further development of my attributes such as being nonjudgmental, open-minded, patient, dedicated, and sincere. My experience in the clinic reiterated that nutritional counseling takes a delicate balance of knowledge along with interpersonal skills and is direly needed in our society.
In order to hone my skills and reach out to more people, my short-term goals are to attain an internship that nurtures my inherent desire to be of service, fuels my passion to make a difference in the world, and challenges me to step beyond my current realms of knowledge and understanding. Of equal importance is the reciprocity of my contributions to your internship along with its many associated communities through which we can expand the grid of those committed to making a difference in the state of Montana and far beyond.
Of utmost importance is a life long commitment to lead by example, which will be accomplished through practicing what I teach, more specifically, by making conscious choices that I will be asking others to make. My other long-term goals are vast. For instance, it appears to me that certain nutrition programs need drastic improvements such as certain school systems, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and food banks. I often dream of starting a mobile meal program that serves whole food based meals to rural areas that lack access to nutritious foods and inner city food deserts. This would be fueled by local farms donating their leftover harvest after gleaning or possibly contributing small plots of unused land for growing in exchange for volunteer work, which could provide a great opportunity for young people to get involved with farming.
Spending time with children in school and community gardens where we can farm healthy great tasting foods is another passion I’d like to explore. In addition to benefitting from time spent outdoors, we could harvest and prepare simple foods together in an exciting manner that would keep the children genuinely engaged and provide an alternative to processed foods. Nurturing this relationship to nature’s bounty could consequently teach them how to be stewards of the land, which will empower them with a connection to the Earth that they rightfully deserve and return to them their intrinsic philosophy of how to live in accordance with their environment. I feel we have borrowed the ‘world’ from our children long enough and it is high time we start giving it back.