Why studia mirabilium?

I had been toying around with the idea of a blog for a long time now. And, as you can see from my teaser post about the Birds of the Pihea Trail, I finally decided to jump in.

The question that I had to ask myself was this: “Is my voice, my opinion, worth broadcasting out to the world?” What value do I bring to the table?

And at this point, who am I? Two posts hardly gives the reader a sense of who I am and where I am coming from. So here is some background. I was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, Illinois but I have been living in Hawai’i for the last 7 years. I always had a passion for the natural world. I was one of those kids who was out playing in the dirt, bringing home critters I found. I once made an ant farm out of an old pickle jar and butter. My favorite pet was a Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) that I found while staying in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Currently, I have been volunteering at the Honolulu Zoo since 2007 and I am actively participating in the Manoa Cliff Forest Restoration, a native plant restoration project here on O’ahu. It is a thirst that has yet to be quenched.

I wanted to start this blog because, quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of the negativity surrounding many of today important topics. Politics, Economics, Conservation, Public Works; it’s hard to find a large topic being discussed without seeing two sides yelling back and forth. So much energy, with so little result. I am not interested in that.

There are still a lot of cool things on this planet. When I first saw the Discovery Channel’s advertisement The World is Awesome, I almost cried. It captured that child-like wonderment about the world that I still think I see. That is what I want to focus on in this blog. That is what I want to talk about. I asked Dr. Robert Littman at the University of Hawaii for a title of this blog. Amongst other things, Dr. Littman has quite the knowledge on archaic Greek and Latin. I wanted to capture that wonderment. And that is where the title comes from: Studia Mirabilium, the study of marvelous things.

While I may stray into various areas from time to time, the focus of this blog is that wonderful margin where humans and their environment interact. Some people like to call it conservation, but I think it is too limiting. We don’t interact with the environment only when we go to safari in Botswana or when saving the condors, we interact with it every day. Look outside now. I’m pretty confident that, wherever on this planet you live, you’ll see a bird flying in the sky, a plant blowing in the wind, a bug taking its energy from the sun. If you live in a city, it might not look like much, but it is still a habitat, albeit a highly altered one. Nature is not as far away as one might think.

This is big talk from a random voice on the internet. Big talk is not hard to find out here on this connection of tubes. Who’s the expert and who’s the charlatan, it can be difficult to sort through sometimes. I have, however, decided to put my money where my mouth is: I quit my job as an account manager at a local IT consulting company that I’ve had for the past 5 years to focus more on the environmental work I am doing. Passion may not be a substitute for expertise, but it is one thing that is hard to fake on the internet. We shall see what happens. Its not the safest thing to do, but hey, risk can be a marvelous thing.

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