In contemplating the ideas of community and connection, I have been exploring a new concept for me, ecological consciousness. To have ecological consciousness refers specifically to a way of being. It is not focused necessary on becoming better educated in the field of ecology and sustainability, but instead speaks to a different way of approaching, perceiving, experiencing and interacting with the natural world around us. From this space there is fostered a respect for nature and all the things that exist within it. Ecological consciousness becomes an internal process. An abiding understanding of our relationship to the natural world. Not as something that exists outside of ourselves, but instead something that we live, move, and act within. This understanding then becomes the lens in which we see everything. This lens creates a deep connection to all aspects of life, even those that we cannot tangible see. It is in this that we are able to acknowledge our responsibility to and connection with the natural world. Christopher Uhl writes in his book Developing Ecological Consciousness, there is “now evidence from many quarters that humankind is in the throes of birthing a new story that is infinitely more joyful, life-affirming, and spirit expanding than our old story. This new story challenges us to wake up and, in so doing, to see ourselves, not as apart from Earth, but instead, as part of Earth—literally a part of the body of Earth.” This connection then serves as a guiding force, a barometer for engagement, and a catalyst for building systems that are mutually sustainable to all….not just from the space of surviving….but thriving! I say, “yes please”!