When I think of wilderness I immediately think about going camping to places I thought were filled with wilderness. In the middle of nowhere with nothing else for miles, we would set up our tent and enjoy our surroundings. Liz Newbery discusses the idea of wilderness being “untouched” in Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education. She talks about wilderness as being “a space separate or away from home” and uses words like “empty space” and “unpeopled” to explain this concept. This idea of wilderness consisting of empty space untouched by people really resonated with my experience camping. Arriving at our campsite, untouched, we would have to figure out the best place to set up, as nothing was put in place. Everything in wilderness random, and unordered allowing for immense interpretations.
I have created a cut out scene on a box of my interpretation of wilderness. I have cut out different trees, a fire, and outlined grass on one side. On the other side I cut out a deer. When I have experiences times in wilderness there are many different trees, different shapes, sizes, and colors. Depending on the time of year, time of day, and past experience and knowledge everyone will interpret the trees differently. I have cut the trees out to show that different views will make the scene look different. I have cut out a fire to symbolize the activities that are done in the wilderness. Often when camping we would have a campfire, easily my favorite part. Spending time with family, creating memories, learning new things, and experiencing all life has to offer. Everyone has different activities that are meaning full to them, this is symbolized through the cut out. You can look at it many ways allowing for difference and interpretation.
On the back side of the box I created a deer to represent the animals that are in and around the wilderness. When you look through the deer you can see the trees on the other side, and while looking at the tress the deer peaks through. This shows that animals are always around us even if we do not know/ do not see them. They are a major part of our environment, and have a big impact on how wilderness is interpreted (ie. Might be more scary with clear sights of animals)
While reading my fellow classmates poems and letters about ecoliteracy, and what it means to them, I noticed 2 key ideas that relate to the overarching meaning of being eco literate. The first being the idea of giving back to the environment and helping in anyways we as humans can. I represented this idea throughout my poem similar to Jade’s and Jaimie’s poems/letters. The other idea relates to educating people about the environment. As to be eco literate one would know they cannot change the world themselves. Mack represents this idea throughout his poem of educating people to make change related to “saving” the environment.
Robin Wall Kimmerer discusses the concept of giving back to the environment on page 173 of Braiding Sweetgrass she says “If citizenships means an oath of loyalty to a leader, then I choose the leader of the trees. If good citizens agree to uphold the laws of the nation, then I choose natural law, the law of reciprocity, of regeneration, of mutual flourishing (Kimmerer, 2013).” She also says on page 174“They [Maple trees] deserve you and me speaking up on their behalf on page (Kimmerer, 2013).” After reading these quotes, I think she is saying that if we follow rules based on what the earth needs, only take what we need and give/ replenish what we can we make a difference in the way the environment lives. In jades poem she says “So let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world;”, I can relate this to poem when I say “If we change our prints, and everyone gets the hint maybe we can help the environment and do for it, as it does for us.” When thinking about the environment in an eco literate way you being to see the ways the environment helps us. As this happens it becomes clear what can be done to keep the earth clean, and functioning to the best it can. Similar to my poem Jaimie talks about the idea of change and says “It is time that everyone does their part. Small actions or big leaps, any action will help keep our environment clean.” There are many aspects of change that can be incorporated into everyone’s daily lives, and as Jaimie mentions even small actions can make a difference.
Unlike my poem Mack talks about another aspect of being eco literate, the idea of educating. This idea is discussed in David Orrs article when he says “ All education is environmental education (Orr, 2004).” When people are educated about the environment they are more likely to want to help, and do their part. However if they don’t know what they are helping, or simply what they can do to help, they most likely wont do it. Mack talks about this idea throughout his poem and says “I can teach you the simple things we need to change. I’ll widen your scope. I’ll broaden your range.” It is important as an eco literate person to educate others, and “widen their scope” on the issues that are happening in our back yards yet have a hard time noticing.
When the streams flow,
The winds blow,
The trees grow,
and the birds crow.
The earth seems healthy,
however though human actions are stealthy.
There is a an unequal satisfaction,
and unfair transaction
The lack of respect is such a pity,
our earth is so pretty.
Yet we don’t treat it so,
soon it will lose its glow.
If we change our prints,
and everyone gets the hint,
maybe we can help the environment
and do for it, as it does for us.
If you have a bike, why not use it?
The fumes you reduce can benefit.
Maybe we can all walk more,
It is definitely worth being sore.
Why not use a continuo,
there’s no point using things you throw.
Why pay 5 cents for a bag?
It doesn’t even have a real tag!
The garage we produce,
will ruin the spruce!
The fumes are getting so thick.
The earth is feeling homesick.
In past I have heard many people make pledges to help the environment, by ways of reducing, reusing, and recycling however often only commit for a short time. In Maple Nations Kimmerer talks about the significance of trees to Anishinaabe culture, and how trees are seen as “ The standing people”. She also talks about the contributions the trees make year round to the environment. Thinking about these two aspects I think it is important to think of ways we can help the environment everyday like it helps us. When we begin to think about the environment like a human its astonishing to think how people treat it. If everyone picked one aspect of their daily life to change and committed to this, the benefit on the environment will be more noticeable. Therefore the negative aspects, like climate change will begin to reduce.
After reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Maple Nations I began to think of the environment and how I can give back. I thought about my daily life, particularly aspects that I can reduce to help eliminate climate change, and create a better environment. Personally I find I drive everywhere, and could easily walk or ride my bike instead. I also use a lot of disposable cups, and plastic straws. I represented these aspects in my visual representation, as I hope that if I reduce my use of my vehicle, disposable cups and plastic straws I can help keep the sunsets pretty, the trees green and the waters blue.
While reading The Sound of Silverbells by Robin Wall Kimmerer I began thinking about the environment and the way it makes me feel. On page 219 Kimmerer says “when I hike, I like to do it quietly, just looking, just being there.” This quote really stuck with me, when I’m in nature I like to just observe and listen to all the beautiful sounds. I thought about all the times I have been able to sit quietly and watch and I always remember feeling peaceful. The environment is very interesting when you sit and observe, I realized that things placed in the settings were random, or scattered. By this I mean that nothing ever seemed perfect, the environment is filled with imperfections. It is important to learn from these imperfections in the environment and see the diversity that exists throughout. I started looking back at my pictures of the times I spent in the environment; some were away on vacations, others in park by my house. All the pictures I saw reminded me of the same peaceful feeling which inspired my first visual representation.
I collected all the pictures I had of the environment that I took, all of experiences in nature that made me feel peace. I began to arrange them into the word Peace, the most resonating feeling for me in the environment. I cut the pictures and placed some sideways, and others upside down to symbolize the imperfections that are seen in nature.