Why Do I Fight for the Earth? Because I'm a Joyful Girl.

Some days it seems like all the work I do on behalf of the animals, plants, insects and other life that make up all the beauty in my world is just a (pointless) drop in the bucket. Humans seems dead-set on destruction of this incredible jewel of a planet we’ve been given, and who am I to try to stop a clearly suicidal culture?

I’ve never known exactly what I want to do with my life- studying science, being in nature, and revelling in art are the things that give me the greatest joy. To me the intricacies of the sodium-potassium pump that resides in each of our cells, watching a sea turtle traverse an invisible ocean current, and listening to Beethoven’s 7th all bring a sense of overwhelming happiness and thankfulness for being alive. I have these moments quite often. Cacaphonous torrents of emotion that are akin to what I’m sure some people describe as ‘religious experiences’. As an atheist, I don’t believe in god, or gods, or even a generic supreme being or energetic force. But I do believe that I’m here to preserve and promote beauty. And the Earth is the most beautiful thing I know.

So when I’m feeling the burning sadness of knowing I only have a short time to love all of this, and the frustration of being so unable to communicate that to other people, I turn to my favorite artists. Ani DiFranco has been one of my mentors (though I’ve never met her) for at least ten years now and her songs give me strength and perspective when I need it most. Thanks Ani. Here’s the song that has given me courage on many difficult, beautiful days:

“Joyful Girl”

i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
i do it just because i want to
because I want to

everything i do is judged
and they mostly get it wrong
but oh well
‘cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
and the woman who lives there can tell
the truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye
and says would you prefer the easy way?
no, well o.k. then
don’t cry

and i wonder if everything i do
i do instead
of something i want to do more
the question fills my head
i know that there’s no grand plan here
this is just the way it goes
and when everything else seems unclear
i guess at least i know

i do it for the joy it brings…

Joyful Girl (Remix)

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.