Gerhardt Moswitzer - Das Blech, 1972
For many years, I had a very specific image of those who “cared” about the environment. They were always white and always foreign to me… When I was in the “world of environmentalists,” I always felt uncomfortable. My brownness stood out and none of my interests aligned. With my deep love of cities, I found beauty in the one place they often wished to escape. However, like many of the people I encountered in what seemed like a very niche culture, I, too, had become caught up with the fabricated idea of nature… [that] Nature was not my block in the city or my house in the suburbs.
I had been thoroughly convinced that sunset horizons on large expanses of safari, tall snow-peaked mountains, and boreal forests in northern lands epitomized what qualified as nature worthy of notice. I had wrongly come to believe that to care about nature, I had to feel romantic energy toward these often legislatively conquered, dominated spaces.
Domination and neo-colonialism aside, none of these spaces are inherently bad; they are extraordinary features of our world, worthy of notice and definitely worthy of maintaining. The problem is these spaces live within a hierarchical structure. These dominated spaces are often mostly accessible to those of more means and are seen as more deserving of awe than the overgrown block in the middle of inner-city Baltimore. We have come to be numb to the ecosystems that exist around us. We are numb to the raccoon that makes its way through the trash for food and label it a pest. We are numb to the trail of ants that make their way from the outside, and we set death traps around the perimeters of our home.
We trap ourselves in an idea of nature that all too often divorces us from the nature in our day-to day-lives, a notion that sets up our urban jungles or suburban islands as places devoid of thriving ecosystems… Ultimately, we embody the toxic narratives that leave us blind to the beautiful and magnificent things we should be connecting with every day.
that spider runs just like I do when I see a spider.