7 February 2016

Two Films : One Problem


Before we plunge into this week’s cri de coeur I would like to apologise for the recent emphasis on philosophical matters. I too miss happy little posts on courageous bees or curious cats or unexpected butterflies, but we must bide out time until spring and her more charming subjects appear. Consider these winter posts as fireside stories told to pass the time while winter rains itself outside.

This week we are going to pick over a couple of films recently released by climate change charities.

31 January 2016

Nature - Culture Binary

Belgium

I'm doing an online course on the Environmental Humanities.

Not that after three weeks of the course I could tell you what the Environmental Humanities are. I was expecting poems and site specific art installations. Instead there are 30 page pdfs by French philosophers, and videos of professors casually sitting in a student union bar discussing the 'liveliness' of water. To be fair there was one earnest young artist making nests for mice out of recycled wool jumpers, but we'll ignore him and his youthful naivety.

Overall it has been an eye-opening course that I have really enjoyed (my idea of heaven is 30 page pdfs by French philosophers). As I understand it the focus of the Environmental Humanities is to make people aware of the assumptions they hold about nature and where they place themselves within their ideas of nature.

25 January 2016

Which Nature?



When my mum introduces me to a new friend she has the problem of not having a label to easily explain me by.  I am not ‘a ...’ There is no job title to categorise me by, and the socially acceptable role of ‘looking after children’ is now not true. She sometimes overcomes the difficulty by declaring I write a blog. With this come signals of techno-mastery and holding an opinion about something. That’s loosely true. With this deft move she transfers the problem of classification to me. What is my blog about? “Nature in the urban environment” I self-importantly declare.

Generally this is all the information the friend requires to safely put me in one of the pigeon holes of her world view. No one comes back with the question, “What do you mean by ‘Nature’?” Which is fortunate because I’m not entirely sure myself.