Does nature and spirituality have a common bond – are they interconnected? Warren Anderson Jr. a local beaches attorney and environmental advocate addressed this in a recent TEDx talk (Technology Entertainment Design) conference in Jacksonville.
Anderson, who serves as a board member with the Public Trust Law and Environmental Legal Institute and the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation, joined me for a nature hike last weekend to discuss what it was like to participate in this symposium and about his personal and spiritual connection with nature.
As hawks soared overhead in the expansiveness of a grassy savannah, Anderson reflected about what he called his peak experience with nature as a young child when his uncle introduced him to the wilderness. While chasing fireflies, catching tadpoles and skipping stones he gazed into the heavens at the stars one evening. With the sounds of crickets and frogs that he affectionately refers to as a “critter choir” clamoring in the background, Anderson suddenly had an epiphany that he calls his first communion, his conscience connection to that sacred ground – his Holy Land.
As we continued our hike, we came across few small clusters of Green Fly orchids nestled between dried resurrection fern on the canopy of the giant oaks, the discussion turned to activism. He told me that his activism is not motivated by negativism, but of the love of what he’s trying to preserve and enhance. That enlightenment years ago, set Anderson on his personal and professional path to be a guardian of the wild. In his words, “I will summon all my energy to protect those special places, even if it means having to file lawsuits, or to wrangle with well-healed developers and unsympathetic politicians.
So, next time you walk the trails of Castaway Island or kayak around Dutton Island – Anderson’s favorites, it’s nice to know that we have a protector of this sacred ground – our Holy Land.
You can see Warren Anderson’s TEDx talk video on my website at http://www.craigonealphotography.com