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Nature, Motherhood and Mother Earth Celebrating Nature during Hispanic Heritage Month

2012 September 13

By Isabel Long

I remember with nostalgia the picnics with my family in my dear country of origin, Chile, in South America. The picnic lunch always began by making the sandwiches followed by boiling eggs which are a classic in Chilean’s picnic culture. My parents were not the outdoorsy type, but nonetheless we all enjoyed our time in nature, with the ever-present majestic Andes Mountains surrounding us. Now in the States, every time I bring my little son to the beautiful Washington & Old Dominion trail by our house memories of past picnics come to me when I see families, mostly Hispanic, picnicking next to the stream.
I think it’s not a cliché that we, Latinos, are attached to our families and that the meals we share are special events of communion among our loved ones. In this sense, picnics are an example that with the same love and passion for nature we are closer to the “social outdoors experience” than the “solitude hike” portrayed by the influential American conservationist, John Muir.
As Hispanics, many of us share an indigenous cultural heritage which values the connection to our origins in Mother Earth, la Pachamama, commonly depicted in indigenous Andean culture. This is a value that I want to pass on to my son. Mother Earth provides for us, therefore it is our responsibility to relate to her in sustainable ways. Nature gives us much more which is of importance for a healthy child, the value of simplicity, interconnectivity of environments, and overall, nature also provides us with beauty to our spirit. In a world bombarded with material “needs”, overrated individualism and overly produced “beauty,” I strongly believe that time in nature will be translated to positive emotions, fun memories and interesting knowledge that I can pass on to my dear son. It would be Pachamama’s heritage to him, passed through his mother to stay with him for years to come.

About the author: Isabel Long is native from Chile. She works for the Bureau of Land Management- Eastern States at the Department of the Interior. She is the co-founder of BLM-Eastern States Diverse Youth Outings Project in partnership with the Sierra Club, the National Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC), The National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC), and the Cesar Chavez Charter School in Washington D.C.

Isabel lives in Arlington with her husband Jonathan and her son, Dante. She enjoys bicycling, hiking, walking, practicing yoga, and traveling.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. José Chávez permalink
    September 13, 2012

    Isabel, es un agrado leer tú artículo, por un lado porque tambien soy Chileno (me gustan muchos los “huevos duros”) y además por el mensaje que das acerca de la verdadera belleza, que esta ahí, frente a nosotros y que es necesario cuidar recordando lo responsable que somos todos nosotros para que nuestros hijos la pueda disfrutar también. Un saludos desde Chile.

    José Chávez
    Ingeniero de (E) en Ambiente.

  2. Sydney Hofferth permalink
    September 16, 2012

    This idea of interconnectedness with nature is extremely important, and I think it is forgotten oftentimes in today’s conversations about our relationship as humans with the earth. For some reason, we forget that the earth provides the most basic and essential goods for us to enjoy–trees to climb, grass to lay in, lakes and oceans to swim in–and we instead take advantage of those resources in an unsustainable manner. Although I am not of Hispanic origin, I greatly respect the cultural traditions that regard Mother Nature with the honor that she deserves. It’s important to never take for granted our natural resources, and to pass on this respect for the earth to the next generation.

  3. Sydney Hofferth permalink
    September 16, 2012

    Although I personally am not of Hispanic Heritage, I greatly appreciate the sentiment of this post–especially the cultural importance that is given to nature and Mother Earth. These days, I feel as though people take for granted all that nature offers us–clear blue skies to gaze upon, green grass to play in, and clean water in which to swim. The national dialogue around protecting the environment unfortunately lacks this tone of respect and awe at the beauty of nature, and for some reason it frames the destruction of the earth as a necessary sacrifice for our development. I feel as though if we were to approach our future as a human race in a more sustainable way, we would not only benefit now from less pollution and destruction of the environment, but also in the future so that we can leave a beautiful earth for future generations to enjoy.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink*
    September 17, 2012

    Thank you, Sydney. Appreciate your comments,
    Lina Younes-EPA

  5. Isabel Long permalink
    September 20, 2012

    Thank you for your wonderful comments and feedback. Thanks to Lina Younes for inviting me to write in the EPA blog.

    Jose, muchas gracias por tu comentario y perdona que estuvimos Lost in Translation con la version en espanol. Me dio mucho gusto que alguien de Chile leyera el articulo. Feliz Dieciocho!

  6. Ivan permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Muy bueno y estoy de acuerdo con Jose. Te felicito.

  7. good-n-green permalink
    March 4, 2014

    Thank you for your wonderful comments and feedback.

  8. pier permalink
    March 20, 2014

    I think people take for granted all that nature offers us. I feel we should approach our future in with a full sustainable way: teaching our kids, giving good examples every day and provide them always eco-friendly products, wood products bio-foods, and similar everyday products. So we can leave a beautiful planet for future generations.

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