When I was little, I had a strange obsession with the environment. I collected animal stickers, watched endless documentaries on the Discovery Channel and stayed up late at night worrying about the rain forest. It was a strange concern, one that made my parents and schoolteachers call me “mature for my years.”

But my concern, as I see it now, was the development of guilt, the anxiety that I continue to carry: How could I learn about oil spills and endangered species at school and not do…  [more]