My fight with nature

A wasp sting caused me to think about our impact on the environment

I immediately burst into tears once the stinger hit my finger.

I was helping my roommate sort out the apartment’s recycling on a chilly afternoon with my sweatshirt hood up. While throwing bottles and milk jugs into bins, I felt something move around in my hair between the hood and my ear. Thinking it was a leaf that flew in, I reached inside to brush it away.

Then I felt its stinger jab my finger.

The wasp fell to the ground and for a moment, I actually felt bad it had to die because I was wanted to recycle today.

But the continuous throbbing in my middle finger made me soon forget that.

It was ironic how I was trying to be environmentally conscious by taking out the recycling, and yet a minion of nature stopped me.

Some people may scoff at me for making my first wasp sting seem such a big event, but this kind of fight with nature extends for me personally – and globally for everyone else.

Nature and I have a difficult relationship. As an environmental studies major, it doesn’t make much sense as to why I have so much trouble navigating through the wilderness.

Earlier in the week, I was trekking through Letchworth Woods for data in one of my outdoor labs. After tripping on branches and getting bit by multiple bugs, I mentioned how I can’t fathom why nature doesn’t like me.

A group member aptly asked me why I am an environmental studies major.

He wasn’t asking to be snide – it was a genuine question and I fully understand why he asked. I sometimes even ask myself the same thing.

But we all have a difficult relationship with the natural world. Some have more difficulty on a personal level, like myself.

Nature doesn’t like anyone, so I don’t take it personally. The earth is naturally wild, chaotic and unpredictable.

But when I say globally, I’m referencing to the battle between man and the Earth for resources. It’s resources for us to sustain ourselves and for the earth to live.

Statistics like the average global temperature increasing at its fastest rate over the past 50 years, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, are an indication of dramatic changes in the environment. The average global temperature at the moment has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, according to NASA’s website.

Climate change is just one environmental problem out of a multitude.

We have to live with what we’re given because we don’t know how nature is going to react. We have to live consciously to help the world that supports us.

Maybe it’s a mixture of my upbringing in New York City where I wasn’t exposed to nature and wilderness as some are, but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by nature attacking me. But I’m trying to rectify that by giving bugs as many chances to have at me because I love the natural world.

And the important thing is to try – an action I think most people feel is futile because the situation is too large or there’s a chance of failure.

The wasp is a part of the Earth that humans are giving the middle finger, but now we’re getting stung. And we’re still going to get stung even if we do something right because the Earth is erratic, so there isn’t an excuse for us not to try.

There will be plenty of other instances for me to fall face flat into nature, but I’ll keep having this realization every time it happens. Until then, I’ll remember the wasp that painfully reminded me this time.