Where Eco Joy Outfitters ends, eempathy begins.
More specifically, whereas Eco Joy Outfitters focuses upon an introduction to nature, eempathy focuses on furthering the relationship to one that fosters-advances conservation. Certainly, Whitman had empathy for nature as evidenced by TIWYSD’s opening line that reads "love the earth and the sun and the animals."
We further believe, empathy itself is and-or can be viewed through multiple lenses. Scientific study, including climate science, insuring access for all, preservation of natural spaces and ecosystems, recreation, artistry, spirituality, wellness, and even private sector interests, to name a few and those most important to the foundation.
And perhaps most importantly, we believe that without a deep and joyful connection between nature and people, we run the risk of losing both.
Empathy focuses us on our greater identity. And to the degree that the answer, at least in part, has to do with you as either an individual or organization having empathy for nature, we’re here to help facilitate your works in conservation, education, and opportunity.
Our overarching strategic ambition is to put more Whitman in our days. But as the strategic ambition to "love the earth and the animals and the sun" is specifically deployed through our grants, we seek a singular outcome, to connect people and nature and joy.
And why? We have a simple belief. If you feel connected to something, and that connection is joyful, then it will become part of you. And if that something is nature, then conservation will become part of you, or in the case of many, an even bigger part of you.
So, helping make or further that connection is what eempathy is all about. And as given below, eempathy takes many deeper forms beyond the introduction offered by Eco Joy Outfitters.
We recognize and respect expertise.
Through our grants programs, we act in support of solution providers with expertise in subject matters of particular interest to the foundation.
And when it comes to expertise, we are believers in science. We are believers in data. We are believers in STEM. And we are aligned with Aldo Leopold’s view when he said:
"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise."
Perhaps best put, we seek to be actionably aware. More specifically:
Actionably aware with regard to preservation of natural spaces and ecosystems.
And whenever-wherever appropriate, seeking balance between conservation, recreationists, and private sector interests.
Actionably aware above.
Actionably aware below.
And actionably aware both before and beyond.
We lead-off by saying "Where Eco Joy Outfitters ends, eempathy begins," which is why eempathy's header photo is the same as that of Eco Joy Outfitters' footer.
We are tree huggers.
We are capitalists.
We believe you can responsibly be both.
So what does that mean? To us it simply means that we seek balance and choose to fund pragmatic optimism and hope when it comes to conservation. Particularly so with regard to the relational issues of climate science, perpetuity, and equity.
A complete dialogue regarding climate science must acknowledge the very real issue of climate anxiety and its follow-on effects.
Our bias is toward good people doing good work. And there is indeed positive and hopeful news to share, positive and hopeful events and actions to show. The foundation seeks to be actionably aware in this regard through trips and tours to help provide, at least in some small way to do our part, remedy.
Furthermore, anxiety, be it climate based or otherwise, is a very real and growing concern. Especially for younger people. As discussed below with regard to “forest bathing,” the wellness benefits of just simply getting out into and presently experiencing nature cannot be underestimated.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." -- Albert Einstein
We completely agree. And with regard to looking deep into nature, we believe there are many ways to do it including:
- Simply spending time in it
- Scientific research, data, and problem-solving expertise; including climate science
- Preservation of natural spaces and ecosystems
- Private sector interests
And there are a number of other ways we think important. One, for example, is through art. It is undeniable there is art in nature, and nature in art. It is also undeniable that art speaks its own language, with people finding ways to creatively express themselves, listen, and observe.
"Nature is the art of God." -- Dante Alghieri
And the second, faith. For some, Psalms 19:1 expresses this perfectly.
"The heavens are declaring the glory of God, and their expanse shows the work of his hands."
And we certainly believe that nature is indeed a very spiritual place.
And last, but certainly not least, we believe nature is key to wellness.
"Forest bathing," a form of ecotherapy, goes back centuries in Japan. In fact, many cultures have long recognized the importance of the natural world to human health. Physical, mental, spiritual.
And just as nature provides for our health, we believe the relationship need be reciprocal through conservation.
In a word, empathy. And in our case, eempathy.
The point and purpose of all of this is to have impact, and hopefully transformational impact at that, in the areas of conservation, education, and opportunity.
Stephen Mather, the visionary whose tireless efforts gave rise to the National Park Service as we know it today, is one of our impact heroes. He is, in fact, so revered for his impactful work that a commemorative plaque can be found in every National Park.
"There will never come an end to the good that he has done."
Worthy of Whitman’s TIWYSD for sure.