Yesterday was Rachel Carson‘s 107th birthday. Google celebrated by dedicating their “Google Doodle” to her. Many others celebrated by re-engaging the vitriol surrounding her landmark book, Silent Spring. A divisive text, there are those who would have you believe that the science presented in the book has been “debunked.” And there are those who say that she didn’t go far enough. In either case, Silent Spring was a groundbreaking and truly remarkable book. (And you really should read it!)
I mention this because it is a book, an experience that changed my life. I’ve always been a bit of a science and nature geek, since early childhood I was fascinated by weather and geology, space and ecology. My favourite place in the world was the Science/Nature documentary section of the public library. But it wasn’t until my environmental science class in high school/college that I really thought about pursuing a career in any way related to that interest. Arguably I’ve arrived at it through a bit of a winding road, coming from an entertainment and arts angle, but I’m still here.
Yesterday I looked up my teacher from that class, M.B. Moore, and sent her an email to say thanks for exposing me to Rachel Carson. It wasn’t just Silent Spring that Mrs. Moore brought to us, but the entire field of environmental science and stewardship. That experience, along with a lifetime admiration for figures like David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, and Jaques Cousteau, helped me find my way through life. I regularly return to it and my memories of that class as I think of how I got to where I am today.
All this is to say, take a look back and recognize those who helped shape your path and thank them. Reach out to your teachers, friends, and coworkers and let them know you appreciate them. Let them know what an impact they have had on you and your life and send them genuine thanks. No one got to where they are in life by themselves, not a single person, so take a moment to thank those who have helped you.
Trust me, it will feel good to share your story and your gratitude with those who have influenced you. And it will bring a smile to their face as well, which, let’s be honest, is the greatest gift you can give.