Nature Taught Me Respect

It’s hard to live in Canada’s oldest National Park for five years and not fall in love with nature. Banff taught me about respect for myself and the planet. We need to preserve what we have now for the future. We, as Canadians, need to take this lesson in our everyday life. We have fallen down far enough it’s time to stand back up. 

  After moving from Banff National Park a couple of years ago, I left with a stronger passion for the environment. I wanted to make a difference, but how? Living on Vancouver Island, a solution started to become clear to me. All around humans are making an all out attack on nature. The white flag has been up for a while now; I guess climate change is not enough of a sign for us to make real changes? Maybe cancer and deadly new flu’s might change our minds? Still not enough? 

  Over the past few years, my life has become overrun with questions. On a typical day I ask myself hundreds, sometimes thousands, of them without a logical answer for many. My girlfriend will vouch for this she hears as least 30 questions a day, many with the same answer: “I know Eugene.” Are these questions being asked by other people as well? Do smokers not realize that cigarettes cause cancer? Do they not realize that when they throw a cigarette on the ground in the park that it takes over 50 years to break down? That’s if birds are lucky and don’t decide it looks appetizing. Why does my neighbor have to buy extra garbage tags when only two people live in the house? Does he know that a lot of his garbage could be recycled? How can we justify dumping sewage into our oceans and rivers? I could go on for hours. 

  I keep reading that my generation is ruining the planet, so why aren’t we doing more about it? I guess people think that it’s easy to ignore what’s happening. “I don’t really like eating fish anyway, who cares that they’ll be gone in 2048?” My problem is that the questions won’t turn off and they are piling up at an alarming rate. If I don’t start doing something, who will? 

  My girlfriend and I have taken many small steps to lessen our impact on the environment. With every step we feel better, but the questions continue to accumulate. I had a need to influence people on a regular basis. The solution came to me: if I could make my living answering questions, I would be able to help others along the path to environmental friendliness as well. This would allow me to finally feel like I’m having an impact on all these problems. They might be questions that I have already answered for myself, but the way I see it is if I can answer these questions when other people ask, it has a broader effect on addressing the issues. 

  Running my landscaping business, I now share my answers to many questions that people already have. How can I conserve water? What’s a healthy alternative to deal with problems I’m having? What does drought tolerant mean? Why do people compost? Why do they say pesticides are bad? Is my yard safe for my family and pets? I think you get the point…teaching about sustainable, sensible products and methods to help preserve the planet is how I can now sleep at night.

  So if your brain has become overrun with questions like mine, you can make a difference; start small and try to answer a few everyday. The more answers you find, the closer we are to getting to solutions. Chances are that people continue to ask the same questions you did, so why not share your findings. If we all stop asking questions, it’s over. Let’s all become 4 years old again. 

“Mom, what’s pollution?” 

“Why does…?”


Eugene Touchette was born and raised in Manitoba and has travelled all across Canada. He carrys respect for nature as a tool in all aspects of his life.