Generalizations: we all make them from time to time, thinking we know a person’s story before they even open their mouth to tell us. Perhaps one of the most prevalent generalizations out there is the one that the young generation puts on the older generation. There always seems to be this idea that because of their age, the older adults are somehow stuck in old-fashioned or outdated ideals. Jack Ewing of Hacienda Baru puts an end to this flawed set of assumptions by defying all expectations that the young have of the older generation.
Something about Jack reminded me instantly of my grandfather. I do not know if it was the slight twang he had in his voice, or something about his overall demeanor that instantly made me think that he was a country-raised, “red-blooded” American, just like my grandpa had been. Of course, I formed these opinions before I actually started listening to him, rather than just hearing. Jack Ewing, property manager of Hacienda Baru, had come to Costa Rica on a temporary cattle-rearing contract back when the land was being used for cow-grazing. He uprooted his growing family in the hopes of getting a change of scenery and an adventure before really settling down in the USA and starting a life. For the first couple months, Jack felt no real attachment to his surroundings.
He was there to do a job, not to cohabitate with nature, and he did just that. It wasn’t until he extended his contract in Costa Rica that he finally started to look around. Without having realized it, Jack had been ignoring the slowly diminishing rainforest around him since his arrival in Costa Rica. He had been too distracted with hunting and cultivating the land to form any attachment to it.
Once Jack began taking note of his environment, there was no possibility of turning back to any other life. From that point forward, Jack poured himself tirelessly into making Hacienda Baru live up to its potential. He began by reforesting the area with the seeds of trees that had become endangered. In this way, he not only reforested large portions of Hacienda Baru’s landscape but also helped to reduce the risk of extinction for the formerly at-risk tree species. Jack also helped in stopping hunting on the grounds of Hacienda Baru. This change, in particular, struck me as a true measure of how far Jack’s thinking had come over the years. From a man who hunted on Hacienda Baru, to a man that was willing to prosecute those who did, Jack Ewing’s mind had become forever changed.
When one of the participants asked Jack why he had chosen to switch to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, he simply responded that after his mindset started switching, he would have felt false living any other way. Going back to his cattle-rearing life of before would have made Jack incapable of looking his coworkers in the eye out of shame. So in a way, it seems like the stereotypes about older adults are right in this case. Jack Ewing is firmly stuck in his ways and will never change. It just so happens that “the ways” he is stuck in are singlehandedly helping to create a healthier planet for the younger generation to live. My generation might complain about how the older generation never changes, but at the end of the day, the world would prosper if more people like Jack were “stuck” in environmentalism.