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Our Living World is Dying

Stacey Worman, 2006-2007 Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellow



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Date: June 19, 2006

To: Undisclosed Recipients

Re: Not another mass email.


Somehow, I've managed to compile an email list that is composed of quite an eclectic bunch of recipients. Some of you I speak to daily, others of you I've only met briefly, and there are even a few of you with whom I have (unfortunately) lost touch with as days have quickly and quietly compounded into years. But regardless of the extent of our relations, it is for one reason or another (and whether you like it or not!) that I've included you on my mass email that I pitifully attempted to pass off as "not another mass email" in my ill attempt to be witty.

But anyways -- given this diverse audience and the fact that this email is interrupting my radio-silence with some of you, I'll quickly try to catch everyone up to speed while keeping the story short for those of you who have already heard this one too many times.

Ahem....well....As fellow college graduates of mine are busily building their careers, planning their weddings, starting graduate or professional studies, enlisting in the service, or figuring out what exactly comes next -- I'll be spending this upcoming year as Vanderbilt's 2006-2007 Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellow. Through this fellowship, I've been afforded the amazing opportunity of designing my own project for world travel (Sounds crazy, eh? I think so too).

I'll be maintaining this website over the upcoming year so that you can all keep tabs on me, share in my adventures, and maybe even learn a thing or two!

Without simply using verbatim from what has already been posted here, I'll briefly explain the principle ideas that I'll be exploring over the next 365 (give or take) days. Fundamentally, my project boils down to an exploration of different phenomena on this planet which I've always been intrigued by. The first theme is the exploration of life ; exploring its' abundance, its' diversity, its' restlessness, its' powerfulness, its' fragileness, its' persistence, its' resilience, and all else that "it" happens to be within the context of different ecosystems. The second theme is the exploration of destruction . If anyone has ever watched an old building being bulldozed, perhaps you share my sentiments that there's just something incredibly fascinating about it; I find myself enthralled by the fact that something that takes so much time and effort to become what it is - in a few quick instants or over a drawn out period of time - can be so easily and irreversibly destroyed. And the last major theme is the exploration of balance ; perhaps the central tenet of not only the non-human elements of our planet but of humanity as well. It is this tenet that so many individuals and communities are continuously striving and struggling to achieve.

It is very easy to simply connect the dots between these three phenomena of life, destruction, and balance and simply call my project "environmental". But over this upcoming year, when you think about my project and you read my emails, I sincerely encourage and challenge you to focus, first and foremost, on these fundamental themes instead. The main reason is that I know that not everyone considers themselves an "environmentalists" or a "tree hugger" or any other associated branding you may be able to think of. And truth be told, I certainly have days when I have my own personal qualms about being associated with these labels too. But I do believe that we all share some common ground in regards to the seemingly instinctual allure of life, awe by destruction, and reverence for balance. My intentions for this project are strictly inquisitive; I plan on exploring these themes, sharing my findings, invoking some contemplation, and letting it all lead to wherever it may go.

But anyway, you can now consider yourself officially briefed on what I'll be up to over the next year! In a few short hours my journey will commence; at 1:30PM EST I will be on a flight bound for Australia ! You can expect a follow up email with more information within the next week or so!

I'd like to end this "not another mass email" mass email by quickly thanking everyone for their love, support, and help in "getting me where I am going!" And a special thanks to those of you who have literally made this all possible for me - I'll forever be grateful for this chance of a lifetime!

Take care and so will I,



P.S. I know that some of you are anxious to know the answer to an obvious question....and you can rest assured; Brenda (perhaps my most prized possession) will indeed be accompanying me in this adventure. On a slightly more somber note, the purple pants are sitting this one out.

Caption: Meet Brenda


And we're off....