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A national park on the DMZ? incredible! I heard a wonderful talk about
how it is a vital habitat zone for the Asian Cranes, who migrate from China
to spend part of the year in Korea. But how do you deal with the
unbelievable number of land mines in the zone? Maybe we have found a way
to create a park thea is truly reserved only for wildlife, although I don't
know how they avoid the mines, either. It reminds me of Rocky Mountain
arsenal in Denver, fenced by the army for cleanup of "the most toxic square
mile in the wcountry" which became the place wildlife took refuge as the
city grew up around it and will become the largest urban wildlife refuge in
Susan S. & Melanie, the issue of development vs. wildlife habitat is THE
ISSUE here on Colorado's front range, and grassland species are in sharp
decline. Like the desert, the grasslands are hard to teach an appreciation
of, in their subtlety. The school site in AZ sounds like an excellent one
for students to explore visually, "envisioning" co-existence at some level.
They may come up with solutions worthy of taking to county planners &
school boards, and become empowered if they do. I, of course, will be
rooting for the owl. Has it ever occurred to Phoenix to build up instead
of out into new ground? If all else fails, we can try to cover the new
school with nesting boxes, but I don't imagine the owls would actually
co-exist with the demands of a school.
Lindsey--I loved your question about native art connecting people
culturally. YES! Art is meaningful in those cultures exactly because it
is intact, coherent, part of lives and speaks deeply of the place it comes
from. I was reminded of this driving through the Utah canyon/desert
country listening to Middle eastern music which speaks of that desert
country. Our multicultural diversity and exile status in this land makes
this a difficult task for us, not to mention the fragmentation from the
community of our "art market" astructure. We're nearly all from somewhere
else, trying to live as we did in that place (look at the mock tudor,
provincial, ante-bellum houses we scatter across the west) and destroying
these places with our inappropriate lifestyles. Can we look at deep
ecology and bioregionalism for other ways of living? Can we learn to
"become native to this place". Could kids envision through art and
creativity how to live in their place?
Graciela, Mark G, Gina, Erin--what are the differences between eco-art and
traditional or contemporary studio art? Eco art by its nature is activist
art, so to teach it to children passively seems counter to the basis of the
work. This art tends to be proactive, postcritical. Difficult to be
neutral, as standard env. interpretation often tries to be and as the
scientific method claims to be. Teaching ecoart to kids might be most
important as a different approach to ecology than the scientific method,
which tends to be ultra focused rather than interdisciplinary. Could teach
philosophy, literature, history, look at indigenous cultures which grew out
of their environment instead of being imposed on it, all from an
environmental basis--have an environmental context for how we see the world
and act in it. Developing an ecological world view. We even need to
develop an ecological view of economics, a need for an equally fundamental
change in our economy--currently non sustainable, ultra
production/consumption oriented--which would encourage a shift in our world
view. Art as a part of life rather than a separate discipline or an
isolated, non-relevant activity.
The Environment is a container, a context, for all the disciplines.
Perhaps it is arts and humanities which allow us a value based
investigation of the environmental situation. Many of the changes in
lifestyle needed to preserve our environment need a shift in cultural
attitudes and values, the traditional province of arts, religion and
I bet that was more than you wanted! Excerpt from notes during a
conversation with Ann Rosenthal.
Arcosanti & Frank L. Wright--another book I recently spotted and got very
excited about--ALTERNATIVE HOMEBUILDING is about how individuals and
families , maybe even schools, could design and create more ecological
buildings. Now if only I could get it thought the county zoning board!