When we think "environment" we usually think about nature, or at least I do. I think of environment in relation to "save the environment" from pollution, global warming, deforestation, etc. Seldom do I think of environment without visualizing forest, oceans or waterfalls.
I recently though about this post when watching a true crime story about a very evil man who treated his kids awful while the wife looked on unable to take any action. The environment that the family was in, under constant threat from the father, dictated their daily actions. They tolerated his abuse because they were too scared to speak out in any way. The children, growing up in that environment, probably didn't know that every other child wasn't in a similar situation. This example is an extreme example of how the environment around us affects how we act. This example also fits the part of the definition above that "provide conditions of danger & damage".
A soldier in combat will act with brutal force in a way that he would not normally act. His environment of "kill or be killed" changes everything. I have never been in a combat situation, but have heard many stories about soldiers doing atrocious things when they get caught up in what is happening around them.
I spent 28 years in federal law enforcement. Most of the time my fellow agents and other law enforcement officers were very professional and early in my career most federal agents wore suits and were all business. When working with some of the state and city law enforcement officers I quickly found an entirely different environment. Often, when I went into rural areas to work, the officers were fantastic at their jobs but loved cursing when in meetings, planning operations or just talking shop. They seemed to feed off of each other's profanity to the point that every fifth word was a curse word. I did not get caught up in it and maintained my normal verbal behavior and dismissed their profanity as part of the business. It never kept us from having a successful operation, but I couldn't help but notice the language in those situations. I often wondered if those same cops spoke like that at home. I really doubt it. It was one of those things I pictured them leaving at work. It is strange to me that someone could turn this behavior on and off so easily. In these situations, I did notice those that stood out among the group with their clean language. One of them, I later found out was a pastor of a local church and the police work was just his "day job". He always impressed me with his demeanor when surrounded by an environment of profanity.
Everyone of us grows up in a slightly different environment which shapes who we are at our core. Each of us was raised a little differently by our parents or caregivers. Sure, some of us grew up in similar situations like others around us, but no experience is exactly alike. These different environments affect our attitudes, our opinions, political affiliation and on and on. We can't begin to understand those around us without knowing the environment that shaped them. We may not know about the hardships that one had in their past or about experiences they had in their jobs or life in general. I have a neighbor that is a Vietnam Vet, who probably had a rough year or two in combat, that I will really never completely know.
In retirement, your environment changes. You no longer have the work environment of meeting new people or working with a variety of people at your company. In retirement, your environment becomes one of your own making. If you are interested in golf, your new environment may be hanging out with fellow golfers several days a week at the clubhouse or on the course. If you are a fisherman, your new environment may include more time on the lake or at fishing tournaments with like minded fisherman. It seems that in retirement you have more control over your environment and who you spend your time with. You no longer have to work along side an idiot at work that pushes your buttons daily. You no longer have to deal with human resource issues with employees. You no longer have to be somewhere for a meeting or training class that you would prefer not to be at. Your new retirement environment is a blank slate for you to build it the way you want it. Our retirement environment fits more in the definition above as "provides conditions for development and growth".
We must interact with our environment and must not let the negative aspects interfere with our life. Don't let the peer pressure of your environment get to you. Don't let your environment cause you to do illegal or immoral acts. Embrace the good aspects of your environment and try to change those aspects that fit the "danger & damage" definition.
As in life, your environment in retirement will be ever changing. You may need to adjust to a new living location and the loss of friends or family as the years roll by. You may have to adjust activities due to physical or monetary issues. You may have to change saving and spending habits based on the current economy or inflation. But, the important thing is to keep adjusting it to what suits you and to what works best to keep you happily retired!