THE NEW NATURE MOVEMENT
Do children – do all of us – have a right to meaningful connection to the natural world? Annelies Henstra, a Dutch human rights attorney, thinks so. She calls it the “forgotten human right.”
In the March 2009 issue of Orion Magazine, and then in a more detailed chapter in “The Nature Principle,” I sketched out a case for that right; not as legal argument, but as moral stance. And I emphasized that this birthright is accompanied by a responsibility to protect and care for the natural world.
That idea had already begun to take root as part of the children and nature movement. In 2007, California adopted the first statewide children's outdoor bill of rights, followed by similar symbolic statements in other states, including Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas, and most recently Wisconsin. Cities and regions around the country have embraced similar declarations.
Now the concept is spreading internationally.Read Full Post.
The following piece doesn't have a lot to do with nature, at least not directly, but bear with me.
One December, I wrote a newspaper column about Linda Evangelist, of El Centro, California, who did not enjoy shopping.
Linda and the members of her family decided that, rather than buying each other presents, each would write a love letter to the other family members, to be read aloud on Christmas morning. The love letters would list at least twenty-five reasons why the person receiving the letter was loved or valued.
Among the reasons her son Brad (then a teen-ager) gave for loving his dad: "You would bribe me to go get ice cream late at night after Mom went to bed." Among the reasons her two sons gave for loving their mom: "You come up with weird ideas like this one." Among the reasons the brothers gave for loving each other: "You rode me on your handlebars to school when I was in junior high," and "You were considerate enough to put your banana peels under the couch." And so on
Christmas morning love lists became a tradition in the Evangelist household—and in other homes, as well. One year, at Christmas time, a talk-show host on L.A. radio station KFI read the column over the air. The idea began to spread. So I decided that my family had better get on board, too.Read Full Post.
The little things. The click of your wife's makeup bottles and brushes in the bathroom in the morning, the subsurface sound of them, a kind of music. The accompaniments: the older boy's bedroom door opening and shutting in haste, a faucet running, a gust of wind in the eucalyptus, the last rain on the window. The little things are what we remember, what we know, of family life. Of life.
The large events have their place, but even the large events of a family's passage are assembled from little things. The rush to the emergency room and the way the air feels there and the brave little chin thrust up beneath the mask, the small choked cry and the sound—especially this sound—of the thread being pulled through the wound, and the way the little hand holds tight to your finger. The little things. Read Full Post.
Took medicine for nature-deficit disorder with buddy John Johns on Wednesday.
Feeling better, thanks.
Photo by John Johns Read Full Post.
"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home." —Gary Snyder.
A few months ago, at the Minnesota Arboretum, several hundred people from a variety of sectors – tourism, housing development, health care, education, and others – came together for a conference focused in part on the Nature Principle.
I was especially intrigued by the remarks of Mary Jo Kreitzer, a nursing professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the university’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. She said the state should make it a goal to become the healthiest state in the country, and that viewing the future through the prism of the Nature Principle could help Minnesota reach that goal.
She and others asked: If nature were the prism through which the future was imagined, what would it be like to live in that future? Read Full Post.
During the first week of November, members of the American Society of Landscape Architects and their colleagues from around the country – over 5,000 strong – met at the San Diego Convention Center. Saving the world was somewhere on the agenda.
Could they be the group with the most influence on human habitat in the future, particularly when it comes to the connection between children and adults to the rest of nature? “Because of their training, landscape architects are big thinkers, or tend to be,” says my friend, Vicki Estrada, a landscape architect, urban designer, and president of Estrada Land Planning in San Diego.
Asked to speak at the conference, I offered a starter list of suggestions for how landscape architects, and the rest of us, could truly green our cities:
"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home." -— Gary Snyder
Afew months ago, at the Minnesota Arboretum, several hundred people from a variety of sectors – tourism, housing development, health care, education, and others – came together for a conference focused in part on the Nature Principle.
I was especially intrigued by the remarks of Mary Jo Kreitzer, a nursing professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the university’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. She said the state should make it a goal to become the healthiest state in the country, and that viewing the future through the prism of the Nature Principle could help Minnesota reach that goal. Read Full Post.
Despite some signs of progress, the impact of recession on public access to the natural world is a reality, and it could get worse.
Take California, for instance. In coming months, as many as 70 parks, many of them in or near urban areas will close, according to California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman. This, she says, is the only way to absorb a $33 million parks budget cut over the next two years. “California has never closed its parks in its history, through two world wars and the Great Depression," Coleman said two weeks ago, in her keynote speech at the annual C&NN Grassroots Gathering.
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Why is the future so often portrayed as a post-apocalyptic dystopia, filled with human brutality and stripped of nature?
For decades, our culture has struggled with two addictions: to oil and to despair. But what if our lives were as immersed in nature as they are in technology every day? What if we not only conserved nature, but created it where we live, work, learn and play? What if something large and hopeful is already forming out there; what if we're part of it? Read Full Post.
November 4, 2001
NEW YORK -- It’s midnight at ground zero. During the day, the endless funeral procession crosses the Williamsburg Bridge or comes up out of the subways or arrives on streams of yellow taxis. People cry on the way to the towers, a Haitian cab driver will tell you. Or they’re quiet, as if holding their breath.
The smell is famous by now, a new kind of celebrity. But it only comes now and then, when the wind shifts. During the day, ground zero is dominated by the familiar spine and its attachments; the teeth and skeletal fingers reaching up toward the lost bowl of the sky. But at midnight, the fingers and the teeth disappear, and you see something else. Read Full Post.