Finding Your Reason Why

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Voices

Why do you wake up every morning? Why do you surround yourself with the people that you do? Why do you choose to do one thing over the other? Our lives, the purpose of our existence, are comprised of our answers to all of these questions. For some, their “Why” comes easily to them, others happen upon it, and some may take a lot of searching and stumbling before we find it. Our “Whys” make up our passions, hopes, and dreams. Our “Whys” motivate and transform us into the changemakers the world needs. This is why it is so valuable to discover what your “Why” is.

“Nothing gives a person inner wholeness and peace like a distinct understanding of where they are going.” – Thomas Oppong

My story of finding my “Why” started when I was very little. Every year before the first day of school, my mom would take my siblings and I to the store to pick a new outfit for the year. For 2nd grade, the outfit I chose to buy consisted of a shirt that said “I Love Hugging Trees.” If it wasn’t for my mom stealing my shirt to wash it, I would have worn that shirt every single of my life, if I could. At that time, I didn’t realize that this was the start of my “Why.” My fascination and love that I felt for the nature that surrounded me continued to grow and forged into the passion I hold today. My “Why” for being an environmental advocate is that every living being on earth deserves all the love and care that we are able to give to them, down to the last particle of soil. 

Finding your “Why” is just the first step to cultivating change. Our “Why” only fulfills our lives and passions once we turn our reason into action. Once I discovered my “Why,” I made it a goal for all of my actions to reflect environmental justice. One of the actions that I took was joining the amazing community of Turning Green. Turning Green gave me the greatest opportunity of taking my passion and turning it into mobilization for our planet. Surrounded by my wonderful PGCourse team, I got to spend the whole summer building a community for people from all over the world to learn from and with each other and innovate solutions for a just world. Without discovering my “Why.” I may have never found this opportunity.

Every year Turning Green hosts Project Green Challenge and this year’s participants were asked to discover their own “Why.” 

One student participant Sacha shared their “Why,” saying “if in some way we can use our voice to influence those around us and raise awareness about [climate change] by living more intentionally for 30 days, we will try our best to make an impact.”

Another Challenger Lindsey shared their why through a blackout poem:

And Ayanna shared their why with a haiku:

Finding our “Why” makes our seemingly far reaching dreams a reality. It has the power to bring us all together to motivate, empower, and mobilize for change and for a better world. 

So I ask you, what is your “Why”?


  • Lena Karam

    As a rising senior at the University of Oregon Lena has always known that her passions around the environment would be the biggest influence in her life. From Portland, OR Lena spent all her time nurturing her passion, whether it be hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, exploring in her backyard, or taking trips exploring the pacific northwest Lena always had to be outside in some capacity and this led to her constantly growing love and wonder of nature and the environment. As an Environmental Studies major Lena uses her passion in hopes to begin her lifelong career of fighting against the injustices of environmental racism. Lena dreams of a world filled with unified communities who work together to not only protect the environment but who love and feel compassion for it as well."