I have two blogs–this one that I now rarely post on and an art blog that I post on more frequently. Being in nature in and out of the city is a large part of what sustains me in life and allows me to create. So I’ve decided to merge both blogs by creating a nature photography section in my art blog. I’m not removing Of Humans and Nature, just not adding to it.
If you’d like to see additional nature photos of mine, do go to Arts of May. And many thanks to those of you who’ve dropped by Of Humans and Nature and who have followed me. All the best to you.
It’s been an eventful summer. A few weeks ago my mother died. She was extremely old, but surprised us all by getting a fever one day and dying the next. I hadn’t been posting here that much before her death and now I think I will officially take a break. Thank you to everyone who’s read and viewed my posts and followed this blog. I’m still enjoying the natural world–both in the city and in the countryside. I looked through some of my photos and have selected this one from Saskatchewan when I was last there in 2011. All the best to you, nature lovers.
Last weekend I went to the exhibition of students’ art work at OCAD, The Ontario College of Art and Design, in Toronto. I was impressed by the number of students whose work addressed their concerns about the health of the natural world.
One fibre artist, Cassidy Tam, exhibited a large work she’d created along with her idea for a children’s camp called Camp Be a Bee. I didn’t get a chance to meet Cassidy, but loved her art work and camp idea.
On her flyer, she writes:
Have you ever get scared by a furry Bumblebee? Do you know why they like to hang around in the backyard? Get ready for a two-week adventure to explore and learn about pollination and local plants that live in Toronto. From art exploration to scientific experiment, you will interact with other camp members to build a beautiful meadow just like a hard working little bee!
I was drawn to her ideas because of my concern for the health of bees. I’m also heartened when I see people working to bridge the gap of disconnection between humans and the natural world. Helping city children appreciate nature is an important part of changing our attitudes toward the larger world that sustains our lives.
Good luck, Cassidy, with your camp and your art work. Here’s Cassidy’s website. Her card, below, shows her email.
I went to the Brickworks last Sunday. The air was awash with the calls of red-wing blackbirds and soaring and diving swallows. I came upon mallards and cormorants in the ponds, plus a mournful and patient dog awaiting the return of his human companions.
After a snowfall, I took this photo at Todmorden Mills on New Year’s Day 2008. It was a day of extreme beauty.
After the big freeze and the rain and melt, this was all the snow left in Toronto the other day, although last night we had a dusting of snow. Here, I’m looking out at the expressway, the ravines and the Brick Works in the distance. I love this dramatic, though often windy, view showing urban life and nature together.
Science: The systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms. — Collins English Dictionary
I never go through a day without thinking, at some point, about the destruction of nature in the world and the efforts to halt that destruction and restore natural areas. You’ll likely have heard that the Canadian Conservative Party, who are in power now, sees oil extraction and pipeline building as priorities for the country’s prosperity. At the same time, they have fired publically employed environmental scientists, cancelled whole projects and prohibited public scientists from speaking about their findings without first being vetted so that they are “on message.”
Recently the government has closed a series of science libraries connected with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They say this is to consolidate information, digitize it and save money. Apparently, however, a government email has surfaced that speaks of culling the information and lists the savings as around $440,000. This may be a lot of money for most of us, but it is quite a low saving for a federal budget. In the last few weeks, researchers have discovered that materials from the closed libraries, some with records dating back a century, are being destroyed. A photograph showing books and papers in a dumpster has appeared online. I find this deeply troubling.
My own belief is that these destructive actions toward environmental scientists and scientific information speak to the Conservatives’ desire to withhold knowledge (inconvenient truths) of our eco systems from citizens. Not only can destroying knowledge have destructive consequences for our health and wellbeing in Canada and beyond, but it is deeply undemocratic.
I’m writing about this today to do my small part in spreading the word and to say there can be no justification, financial or otherwise, for destroying knowledge or for censoring the messengers. I’ve added a few links if you’re interested in reading further. Plus some photos of the beauty of nature in Canada.
I was at the Art Gallery of Ontario today. Through a window, I took this photo of Grange Park. Winter in the city–flurries on a mild day with rain and freezing rain expected later.
On the weekend, we went to see a documentary about Tokyo and its huge crow population. Before it was aired, a short documentary was shown that we hadn’t realized we’d be seeing. It was The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. This was an extremely moving film about the terrifying tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. There was footage of the water coming in and wiping out a town below as people stood helpless on a hill looking down at the disaster.
Survivors spoke about their tremendous grief and shock at what they had witnessed. Because this tragedy occurred in the spring, the cherry trees, which are greatly appreciated in Japan, soon came into blossom. Some bloomed abundantly in areas that had not been touched by the tsunami. And some managed to survive amidst wreckage. There were scenes of huge areas full of flattened houses and buildings that had collapsed on still missing people, wrecked and upside down cars, human belongings broken and strewn in chaotic jumbles with a tree here and there beginning to send forth these exquisite pink or white flowers.
The survivors spoke of taking comfort from the cherry blossoms. Their statements were not empty platitudes but seemed to be genuine expressions of being touched by the blossoms. The trees’ beauty, their ability to send forth flowers after such a catastrophe gave some of the survivors the feeling that they too could continue living.