I put my post on Instagram this week, but wanted to expand on it here because of the interesting responses I had. Following our in class discussion about the idea of reciprocity of nature being a form of justice, I posted the following on my Instagram with #UnleashValues.
PLEASE DROP A COMMENT: I want to hear about the last time you felt like the world, nature, loved you.I know it’s in vogue to quote and/or invoke Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ideas but we were talking in class today about what a socially-ecologically just world could look like, and all I was thinking about was how nice it would be if I felt like nature, the world, loved me back.Maybe that means I’m looking for policy that forces environmental assessments to engage with stakeholders (especially Indigenous peoples) more meaningfully, or maybe I’m looking for legislation like the US’ Endangered Species Act…laws with teeth. Most of me wants to be outside all the time, cultivating that two-way relationship of love…but maybe I need to go to law school if I want to see this just relational order between humans and nature develop. Curious for your thoughts.
I got quite a few responses from friends and family in BC but also Ontario, Czech Republic, and South Africa, which was cool to see. Here's what some people said.
I think we need to be in nature and gardening to fully connect - I've felt healed by the soil when I'm planting.
Yesterday when I harvested strawberries🍓 from the garden and whenever I'm...drinking clean water straight from the river.
I feel cared for by creation / nature / the earth when I'm harvesting and enjoying produce from our garden, paddling in Algonquin, swimming in beautiful, clean, lakes... I admit to talking to the plants and trees as I cut and prune and thanking them
I don’t think I perceive two-way love in the same way, but I do perceive a sort of rhyming/place-fitting and sense-making, especially when I’m in a place where I have a continuous relationship with the land. The sort of sense making, careful observation/attention that is the currency of love informs land relationships in the best case, I think.
Riding my bike down the 8th Ave hill on Wednesday night feeling the wind and looking at the city lit up down below. Always is thrilling and always makes me feel like this is my home.
What beautiful examples of love as social-ecological justice!!! I was so touched. There were a few trends in the responses: based on the examples of using our bodies (cycling, paddling) to travel, drinking natural water, gardening and eating food produced from the land, it seems to me that people find love of nature when they are participating in it. So how does this participation translate into a movement, or systemic change? Though not all of us can ride bikes or access land to garden, we can do things from a policy perspective to enable people to seek time with nature in a way that they find meaningful. We can fund organizations that provide opportunities for people to get outside. We can fight for policy that manages land in ways that doesn't result in industrial use/transformation of wild spaces. We can fight for laws that protect nature – giving SARA more teeth, giving legal rights to nature. We could develop tools to enforce honest advertising and fight green-washing, so that consumer choice supports sustainable brands, not green marketing. But advocacy is difficult, and we all need experiences that help us relax, and remind us what we're advocating for – we all need experiences which make us feel loved by nature.