World Wide Waldens starts with a simple idea, inspired by Henry David Thoreau: Places like his beloved Walden Pond are essential. They connect us to nature and inspire us to think deeply about our lives, our values, our relationships, and our role as humans in an astonishing and vital natural world. They are places from which we learn about the natural world and ourselves.
World Wide Waldens is the idea that, just like Concord and the Walden Woods were so important to Thoreau and his connection to nature, every person all around the world has their own “Walden.”
Through World Wide Waldens, we encourage young people to reflect on their environment ethic – what the natural world means to them and how they can work to protect it – to develop an ethical compass that will help them navigate environmental issues and decisions for a life to come.
We all have “Waldens.” Every community does. Where’s Your Walden?
There are a number of ways to participate in World Wide Waldens:
- First, tell us: “Where’s Your Walden?SM” Submit a reflection on your “Walden,” and a picture or work of art inspired by your special place. Your submission could be featured on our website or social media pages.
- Is your “Walden” threatened in any way? By human impact? By climate change? Do something to help your “Walden.” Use our Environmental Project Planning Toolkit (in Word, so you can modify the document as needed) as a guide.
- If your group completes a project, please share it with us in our “Where’s Your Walden?SM” Project Showcase. You can check out projects by other groups there, too!
- Explore your environmental ethic using activities featured in the World Wide Waldens Environmental Ethics Activity Guide (pdf).
- Invite us to lead a workshop for teachers in your community on how to help young people explore and nurture their environmental ethic. Contact our Education Department to get started!
- Participate in the annual Live Deliberately Essay Contest, which invites youth ages 14-21 from around the world to reflect on Thoreau’s legacy of social responsibility and environmental ethic.