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I appreciated your thoughts of 13 Oct. Here in the Pacific Northwest,
individual places have not held the same story importance as in Navajo
culture. But, process or ecological relationships and large chunks of
landscape have long held importance. Rivers, especially.
Unfortunately, here as elsewhere, it seems that Joni Mitchell was
right about paradise getting paved. Then we see what we lost. You ask about
parents holding a negative view of "environmentalist movements" and I think
that many people do not change that idea until most is lost. In my own
work, I have learned to kind of calm my environmental zeal in order to
communicate. In the process, I've gotten to know some wonderful people who
came across as anti- environment. In many of these cases, those latter
people are the best care takers of the land. Ranchers. Hunters. Loggers.
Fishermen. And, I think that by working with them in creative ways we can
help make sure chunks of landscape are protected prior to the paving.
What we are now doing in the Northwest is restoration of the damaged
environments - they were damaged for many reasons, partly because
environmentalists like myself were too stubborn to listen to people with
In communities with main sources of income from ranching, mining,
logging, I think it is a good idea to find some environmentally connected
middle ground and try to build bridges. Fishing works for me, and I use
fish all the time to relate needs as well as fun as I try to make points
about watershed ecology.
> While examining the art and ecology areas of ArtEdNet, I can't help
>but be reminded of what I've learned of the Navajo people of the Four
>Corners region. In the geographical area where the Navajo live, several
>mountains, rivers, plants and animals have all been given stories to
>portray their sacredness and importance. Often, these stories are
>displayed, not only by verbal methods, but through pictures and symbols.
> I believe that the idea of the land in which we live as being
>important, or even sacred, has been lost in much of modern Western
>culture. How easy it is to forget where water really comes from when all
>we see are the metal pipes and dispensers.
> My questions are these: Should modern art that focuses on ecological
>and environmental themes strive to evoke a similar feeling of respect for
>nature as that of the Navajo and other peoples of the Southwest? Also,
>because some parents may hold a negative view on what is commonly referred
>to as the "environmentalist movement," how can once successfully
>incorporate such themes into a modern elementary curriculum?