What defines us

I recently saw a video clip of Jane Goodall speaking about her experience with Chimpanzees. She made a statement "I went into the jungle a scientist and I came out an activist". It made me think about the subtle variations in the way we articulate and define who we are in the world. There are activists and environmentalists, conservationists and naturalists. I wasn't quite certain about the precise differences in these terms so I looked them up.

scientist - noun: a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.

environmentalist - noun: a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment.

conservationist - noun: a person who advocates or acts for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife

naturalist - noun: an expert in or student of natural history or person who practices naturalism in art or literature.

activist - noun: a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change

ecologist - noun: a person who studies ecology. {ecology: the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.

 Riverbed, Paradise Valley 2016

Riverbed, Paradise Valley 2016

As an artist painting the environment I identify with all these definitions. Learning more about the river that we study as a group I am an ecologist and naturalist, a student of natural history. Understanding about drought cycles and the watershed, I am a scientist. Creating an exhibition about our watershed and partnering with groups who advocate for it's viability, I am activist and conservationist.

We are all complex and embody many versions of ourselves. What we choose to focus on allows us to harness those many facets and use them for good. That I can use painting for both pleasure and purpose is a tremendous gift.

595059af3086e521aeafd1c6_Whiterock at start of Rey Fire.jpg