The following is a guest essay by actress Sophia Bush, the star of the CW’s hit series One Tree Hill. Bush will be running in the San Francisco Marathon for The Nature Conservancy. Find out what inspires this rabble-rousing young activist.
Running outside in nature along the gorgeous beaches of North Carolina where I now live makes me feel completely alive. That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with The Nature Conservancy, running a 5K in the San Francisco Marathon to help protect our amazing planet.
I sound like a lifetime runner, huh? But the truth is, I’ve had asthma my whole life and it wasn’t until last year I decided to overcome this challenge and start running to raise funds to keep our planet and myself healthy. While it was a scary move, trust me struggling to breathe is horrifying, I feel so strongly about protecting this planet that I ran a half- marathon. And now I’m running again and asking for your support.
I’ve never been shy about my love of nature. Not only is it outrageously beautiful, nature supports all life. When I’m outside running and stop to grab a drink of water, it’s easy to forget that we need healthy streams, rivers and forests to keep our water fresh. That the food we eat actually comes from productive farm fields with rich, fertile soil. Or most importantly for me, that when I stop to catch my breath it’s nature that purifies the air we breathe. The simple truth is a healthy planet is what allows us to be healthy people. And it all begins with protecting nature.
Okay, I have to admit, I’m a native Californian and being born in this beautiful state, we’re predisposed to love nature. When I see the spectacular places the Conservancy has protected, from our deserts to the Sierra, I’m in awe of the work they do.
In fact, the San Francisco Marathon runs to the scenic Marin Headlands, which the Conservancy helped to protect in 1972. A few years earlier, plans had been approved to develop a massive 2,000-acre development with 50 apartment towers, single-family houses, a “landmark hotel” and a mile-long shopping center along these spectacular hills. The Nature Conservancy and its partners took their fight to the streets generating a huge upswelling of community support for the cause. They were able to raise the funds to purchase the land.
This was a huge boost towards creating the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which the Headlands is now a part of. This park is home to more endangered species than any other national park in the continental U.S. Plus it’s one of the most visited sites in the National Park System –it’s a magnificent urban park that’s close to millions of people who hike, bike and run its trails.
The Nature Conservancy envisions a world where people work together to create a healthy and thriving planet that sustains us all. I’m ready to lace up my running shoes and help them achieve this. Will you join me?
(Image: Actress Sophia Bush. Image credit: Courtesy Sophia Bush)