Finding inspiration

What does inspiration mean to you, dear Reader? To me it means gaining a new perspective on our world and feeling the desire to positively impact others by voluntarily changing my current path of life. Such inspiration can be triggered through another person's deeds or words. Indeed, many of us are inspired by other people's words because words are versatile and powerful.

While a mean word can hurt us deeply, a warm one can lift up our spirits, and an inspiring word can motivate us to step outside of our comfort zone.

As we humans continue to heat up our Earth, to destroy the homes of human and nonhuman animals, to cause mass extinction, and to treat some humans better than others, today's world truly needs inspiration to embark on a different course of action. Hoping to provide such inspiration, the International Ecolinguistics Association has created a free online database called Inspirationbase, which features speeches by personalities like Oprah Winfrey, John Lewis, Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, and Peter Singer, who deeply care about our Earth and her human and nonhuman inhabitants.

By listening to their speeches, I have reversed some of my perspectives while deepening others. I have undeniably grown as a person and now feel even more motivated to do my part in leaving behind a better world. And all this growth and motivation in me happened because of words that convinced me that change is not only necessary but also possible.

I highly encourage you, dear Reader, to check out the Inspirationbase at http://www.ecoling.net/inspirationbase. May you find these speeches truly inspiring, and may they motivate you to inspire others, be it your children, friends, or colleagues, to help us turn our Earth into a healthy and friendly place for all of us.

Dr. Daniela Ribitsch originally comes from Graz, Austria. She has lived in the United States since 2009 and teaches German at Lycoming College in Williamsport. She can be reached at ribitsch@lycoming.edu.