15 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2020
    1. “We live in a strange world. Where all the united science tells us that we are about 11 years away from setting off an irreversible chain reaction way beyond human control that will probably be the end of our civilization as we know it. We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most. Where politicians say it’s too expensive to save the world, while spending trillions of euros subsidizing fossil fuels. We live in a strange world where no one dares to look beyond our current political systems even though its clear that the answers we seek will not be found within the politics of today. Where some people seem to be more concerned about the presence in school of some children than the future of humankind. Where everyone can choose their own reality and buy their own truth. Where our survival is depending on a small, rapidly disappearing carbon budget. And hardly anyone even knows it exists. We live in a strange world. Where we think we can buy or build our way out of a crisis that has been created by buying and building things. Where a football game or a film gala gets more media attention than the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. Where celebrities, film and pop-stars who have stood up against all injustices will not stand up for our environment and for climate justice because that would inflict on their right to fly around the world visiting their favorite restaurants, beaches and yoga retreats. Avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown is to do the seemingly impossible. And that is what we have to do. But here is the truth: we can’t do it without you in the audience here tonight. People see you celebrities as Gods. You influence billions of people. We need you. You can use your voice to raise awareness about this global crisis. You can help turn individuals into movements. You can help us wake up our leaders - and let them know that our house is on fire. We live in a strange world. But it’s the world that my generation has been handed. It’s the only world we’ve got. We are now standing at a crossroads in history. We are failing but we have not yet failed. We can still fix this. It's up to us.” (Thunberg 39-42).

      THUNBERG, G. (2021). A Strange World. In NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE (pp. 39-42). S.l.: PENGUIN BOOKS.

    1. Massive population growth has intensified serious problems, including a “deficit” of culture. This in turn has led to the degradation and disinterest of the collective attitude of the public regarding issues surrounding the conservation of nature, the respect for trees, and the role of the garden.

      “Purdy is a law professor at Duke, and as such, he feels most at home in American history. His book is, among other things, a panoramic tour of what he calls the “American environmental imagination.” In Purdy’s telling, European settlers initially took a providential view of North America, seeing it as a wild land set apart by god for human cultivation. The Romantics that followed saw America’s landscapes as “secular cathedrals,” meant to inspire awe and reflection. In the late 19th century, a new utilitarian cast of mind took hold, and America’s wild lands—especially its forests—became resources to be managed. In more recent times, Americans have taken an ecological view of the natural world, seeing it as a connected, interdependent whole. “The main premise here is that nothing is isolated,” says Purdy. “The world is a network of inter-permeable systems, so that what comes out of a smokestack can travel through wind, rain, groundwater, and soil, and end up in flesh.” The “Anthropocene” or “age of humans” is, in some ways, a logical extension of this view. Purdy hopes that climate change might spur yet another change in how we think about the natural world, but he insists that such a shift will be inescapably political. There is no other way to “build the movements and institutions that could match the scale of decisions that now have to be made,” he says.”

      Andersen, Ross. “Nature Has Lost Its Meaning.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, November 30, 2015. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/11/nature-has-lost-its-meaning/417918/.

    1. yet each tree was touched here and there with vivid snatches of the brightest red; the smaller twigs close to the trunk forming brilliant crison tufts, like knots of ribbon. One might have fancied them a band of young knights, wearing their ladies’ colors over their hearts. A pretty flowering dogwood close at hand, with delicate shaft and airy branches, flushed with its own peculiar tint of richest lake, was perchance the lady of the grove, the beauty whose colors were fluttering on the breasts of the knightly oaks on either side.

      This writing is an absolute perfect example of romanticized and even heroic themed literature. The personification of the trees as characters who complement each other paired with the reoccurring theme of the application of femininity to nature both contribute to American pastoral romanticism. The careful, detailed, and delicate descriptions of nature within this excerpt are key signs of its romantic qualities, which results in the reader consuming nature more poetically and intellectually. This influence creates and supports a relationship with nature that is characterized by inspiration, awe, and observance. This personified narrative supports pastoral leaning tones by emphasizing a courted relationship between the trees and describes the dogwood as this desired beauty of many. This leads one to further question what American pastoralism exactly means. Here Gordon M. Sayre points out the oxymoron of the idea. “In Marx’s formulation American pastoralism is an ideology that has mediated conflicting desires for technological progress and bucolic retreat, “a desire, in the face of the growing power and complexity of organized society, to disengage from the dominant culture and to seek out the basis for a simpler, more satisfying mode of life in a realm ‘closer,’ as we say, to nature”” (1). This definition understands American pastoralism as a progressive search for technological advance, but also as a desire to live a simpler life more in touch with nature. I think Cooper’s A Dissolving View leans heavily into an emotional connection with nature, but not so much in a simple way. This poetic comprehension of nature provides a deep appreciation and admiration of nature which submits to the gratuity motifs of pastoralism, but more so aligns with a romantic enlightening idea of nature.

      Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory, Volume 69, Number 4, Winter 2013, pp. 1-23 (Article)

    1. This ability to accommodate a diverse range of social and political structures makes the maidan an extremely significant space in the city. It is a place where people can “touch the spirit of commonness.”

      Maidans seem to have been a quiet, but very effective form of progressive landscape activism. The idea of creating a landscape that is collective is not uncommon in modern landscape architecture, but successfully influencing a city with a nomadic and inclusive atmosphere is a constant struggle of landscape architects. Modern day parks have pieces of these attributes, but I think they miss on the quality of depth that Maidans exemplify. A Maidan provides an open zone that Mathur described as having “spirit of commonness” which I think is key to emphasizing this concept of inclusivity. The culture of maidans hold this simple idea of anonymous expanse that results in magnitudes of community. I think comparing modern landscape architecture culture, it comes off as something almost unattainable. “Like so many other new and rediscovered trends in design, we often see activism being treated as a means to an end—an instrument for virtue signaling and business development, not for the kind of community and electoral organizing that others might define as activism” (Boone et al., 2019). This is my worry with concepts like the Maidan, seen as something to inspire not to replicate or implement. I am seeing more attention focused and present in modern landscape architecture culture with design efforts being pushed for more thoughtless money-making design rather than for communities in need.

      Boone, K., Chase, N., Drake, S., Fuentes, L., Cookson, T., Goh, K., . . . Yarina, L. (2019, August 12). What does it mean to engage in activism through design? To engage in design through activism? Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://mcharg.upenn.edu/conversations/what-does-it-mean-engage-activism-through-design-engage-design-through-activism

  2. Oct 2020
    1. Zenko is diving into the philosophy of the meaning of life and how one should emotionally relate to it and their surroundings. When he says, “should we not relish each day the joy of survival?” he is pointing out that each day is the meaning of joy itself. There is no true happiness from seeking an endless tangible wealth. Zenko’s words can no better describe the sentiment “One day’s life is more precious than a fortune’s worth of money.” This sentiment of laissez-faire is also paralleled in Sir Rabindranath Tagore’s writings in Glimpses of Bengal. Tagore supports this ‘joyous day’ and ‘consumption obsession’ theme in a couple of places; “In the midst of this, man seems so trivial. He comes and goes, like the ferry-boat, from this shore to the other; the babbling hum of his talk, the fitful echo of his song, is heard; the slight movement of his pursuit of his own petty desires is seen in the world's marketplaces: but how feeble, how temporary, how tragically meaningless it all seems amidst the immense aloofness of the Universe!” and “Where Nature is ever hidden, and cowers under mist and cloud, snow and darkness, there man feels himself master; he regards his desires , his works, as permanent; he wants to perpetuate them, he looks towards posterity, he raises monuments, he writes biographies; he even goes the length of erecting tombstones over the dead. So busy is he that he has not time to consider how many monuments crumble, how often names are forgotten.” Both philosophers see life as precious in each day and moment and to not look around and appreciate your surroundings and what you have is frivolous and not thankful.

      Tagore, R., & Sen, R. R. (1913). Glimpses of Bengal life: Being short stories. Madras: Natesan & Co.

    1. Where Nature is ever hidden, and cowers under mist and cloud, snow and darkness, there man feels himself master; he regards his desires, his works, as permanent;

      “Nature, tamed and subdued, could be transformed into a garden to provide both material and spiritual food to enhance the comfort and soothe the anxieties of men distraught by the demands of the urban world and the stresses of the marketplace. It depended on a masculine perception of nature as a mother and bride whose primary function was to comfort, nurture as a mother and provide for the well-being of the male. In pastoral imagery, both nature and women are subordinate and essentially passive” (Merchant). Man is in a constant state of trying to secure control over their environment. This control bleeds into an obsession that has historically ensured destruction, dominance, and disrespect over nature and women. Here Tagore is pointing out that this ‘master complex’ is useless and has no actual achievement due to man’s frivolous actions and pursuits being but a glimpse in nature’s eyes. We humans often see our existence and actions as these permanent items reaching for success, wealth, happiness, and peace. In return, Tagore reminds us of the simplicity of beauty. “nothing is more beautiful or great than to perform the ordinary duties of one’s daily life simply and naturally. From the grasses in the field to the stars in the sky, each one is doing just that; and there is such profound peace and surpassing beauty in nature because none of these tries forcibly to transgress its limitations” (Tagore 72). This is not a scolding of humans to be better in their transgressions against nature, yet I think Tagore would agree humans should treat nature with more respect. He is more so inflicting existential advice of how humans can attain pleasure and how that pleasure is correlated with nature being limitless and not so much a glimpse as we are, but a flux-like constant.

      Merchant, C. (1980). Nature as Female. In The death of nature (pp. 1-41). San Francisco, California: Harper & Row.

    1. I think this idea that Mueller is emphasizing speaks to the difference and comparison of preservation vs. conservation. We have learned that preservation aligns with John Muir’s thinking described as protecting and keeping nature at its pure state. We have also studied the conservationist approach, which examines nature as a resource to humans while still trying to respect it. So, an example of this would be to dam a river for a vital drinking water source for humans, but still trying to protect the environment as much as possible to support the wildlife and plant species present in the area. The preservationist would veto the dam due to its hinderance of nature in the first place. Mueller’s words point to a much more preservationist approach: “not for spoil or to devastate, but to be wisely used, reverently honored, and carefully maintained… to be surrendered to posterity again as an unimpaired property” (Guha 2014). He is understanding the forest as something sacred and pure, a place that creates an emotive response to the viewers and should be protected for future viewers. Humboldt captures this same sentiment, “Merely looking at nature, at its fields and forests, causes a pleasure that is essentially different from the impression given by studying the specific structure of an organized being. In the latter, the details interest us and excite our curiosity; in the former, the large picture, the ensemble, excites our imagination” (73).

      Guha, R. (2014). The Ideology of Scientific Conservation. In Environmentalism: A global history (pp. 25-43). London: Penguin Books. Humboldt, Alexander V., and Aimé Bonpland. Essay on the Geography of Plants. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

    2. Contextualize: “The conservation of forest also stands & aims at a quick shift in the composition of trees species and age distribution. Forest conservation involves the upkeep of the natural resources within a forest that are beneficial to both humans and the environment. Forests are vital for human life because they provide a diverse range of resources: they store carbon & act as carbon sink, produce oxygen which is vital for the existence of life on the earth, so they are rightly called as earth lung, help in regulating hydrological cycle, planetary climate, purify water, provide wildlife habitat (50% of the earth's biodiversity occurs in forests), reduce global warming, absorb toxic gases & noise, reduce pollution, conserve soil, mitigate natural hazards such as floods& landslides & so on” (Pawar & Rothkar 2015). This recent article points out some key factors as to why forests should be treated with a high sense of respect and care. In 1852, Mueller was a catalyst for creating a new understanding and perspective of forests as not only a means of a resource. He saw forests as a landscape that can be used, observed, studied, and enjoyed, but also as something sacred that should be protected at high importance for the posterity of other generations. I think Pawar and Rothkar point out many of the ecological benefits of ethical forest management but are negligent to including the massively emotive and experiential impact of forests for the well-being of humans. Mueller on the other hand views the forests similarly to Alexander Von Humboldt, a fellow botanist, understanding the importance of emotive reactions to nature. Mueller puts more emphasis on the idea of preservation than Humboldt does, but I think the core theme of connection to nature spiritually is present.

      Pawar, K. V., & Rothkar, R. V. (2015). Forest Conservation & Environmental Awareness. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 11(1), 212-215.

    1. This is directly examining the highly visceral emotive response that nature invokes out of humans. I personally think this specific topic is extremely intriguing due to how it can be viewed on a macro and micro scale as well as looked through the lens of “natural” vs “designed” experiences. How a “natural” landscape invokes common feelings of purity, ethereality, picturesque, and leans into an idea of desired paradise, where a “designed” landscape more often distinguishes emotions of framed experiences such as feelings of ephemeral peace, comfort, and easy joy. I think they can both create this idea of paradise, but the difference being, the “designed” landscape is much more approachable, understood, and tangible for humans to achieve; whereas, the “natural” landscape is an ethereal idea, but has a underlying sense of unknown due to its wild attributes that are less palpable. ¬¬Thomas Rainer understands this idea of the tangible and spiritual connection that humans yearn for when he states “It is only in the last hundred years or so of our species that we have become removed from our outdoor environments. It is not that we have lost the capacity to read and see landscapes, but we are out of practice and we are desperate for it. At a deep level, when we see plants that perfectly fit their environment, it reminds us of an ancient fellowship we had...The natural landscapes we seek seem to have an emotional pull on us. They make us breathe deeper and balance our spirits” (Rainer & West 2016). Rainer is distinguishing that nature is quite literally “good for the soul.” This desire and induced emotive response that both Humboldt and Rainer refer to is, I think, the core director in how landscape architects design/should design. Feelings at this depth are a connection that most humans can relate to, and if we can create and manipulate an environment to subsist these connections we will successfully and progressively link humans to the desired experience we want to facilitate.

      Nature as it was, nature as it could be [Introduction]. (2016). In 956545814 744955501 T. Rainer & 956545815 744955501 C. West (Authors), Planting in a post-wild world: Designing plant communities that evoke nature (p. 24). United States: Timber Press.

  3. Sep 2020
    1. “Women were seen as being domestic, pious, moral, pure, gentle, kind, graceful, simple and beautiful; this was according to the nature of separate spheres: men and women were fundamentally different in terms of their characteristics as men were seen as hard-working, industrial, rational, assertive, independent and proud; none of which is easily connected with nature. Therefore, nature was seen as the embodiment of all the characteristics that women possess and there are frequent references to this in literature, especially poetry.” I think this parallel is interesting because it brings up the flattering parallel of women and nature compared to the obvious and negative patriarchal attitude of control that has been attached to both women and nature. The appealing side of this connection brings up the idea that women are graceful and beautiful in the like of nature. These are more admirable compliments compared to the ‘compliments’ of ‘moral, simple, domestic’ that are both laden onto women and nature. With a history of a forced passive retaliation, nature and women both have quite a bit of pent frustration. I think now, viewing this parallel as a feminist and supporter of nature, these ‘compliments’ quite clearly express an oppressive attitudes that have been wrenched into societal constructs and creates a statement of inherent inequality while also supporting males in a toxic masculine superiority complex. As a female in the career of landscape architecture, I feel a duty to no longer be passive against this patriarchal conception. I will stand up for women and nature in my design practices, meaning I want to instill an idea of working with nature as an equal counterpart to aid in creating more beneficiary and equitable landscapes. I think it needs to be women on the forefront carving a new social construct for nature and women to be viewed as important, respected, and still just as beautiful.

      Nature Being Represented as Women. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://sites.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/Travel/Presentations/Nature.htm

    1. “Under Muslim direction, this architecture also reflected the separation between private and public spaces. This distinction between the private and public spaces, eventually, has become a hallmark of traditional Islamic architecture. As there two ways to look at a human, so do the architecture; Zahir (Persian): meaning exterior, or worldly attitude. Batin (Persian): meaning interior, or contemplative aspect of human nature” (Ansari, 2011). I think these views align with the idea of “representation of nature and nature of representation” (Ruggles, 2011). Let’s clarify what those ideas are. The ‘representation of nature’ is defined using the concept of artificial gardens: the pictures of trees and vegetation were signs intended to invoke an image of paradise to the viewer. The ‘nature of representation’ defined using the concept of real gardens: live trees were not viewed as paradisiac to the viewers and they were not involved in the building’s complex or meaningful signage system. Applying to the Persian understanding of representation, the artificial gardens were understood as an interior reflection on one’s own version/view of paradise which connects the ‘representation of nature’ to Batin. The real gardens were viewed within a box of worldly attitudes aiming to extinguish trees from religious mosques which aligns Zahir and the ‘nature of representation’. These views of introspection and external guidance are an efficient resource to re-understand modern landscapes and gardens. Discussing a project or an issue in the industry in both these contexts could unfold major themes of representation from a diverse set of perspectives.

      Ansari, N. (2011). The Islamic Garden [Scholarly project]. In Www.medomed.org.

    1. “The original Hebrew word for ‘delights’ is ‘Ada’necha’ {עדניך} which derives from the same root as well. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘Eden’ has something to do with ‘pleasure’or ‘delight.’ Moreover, the Hebrew word for ‘delicate’ is ‘Me’udan’ {מעודן} – which comes from the same root as well. The initial Latin meaning of ‘delicate’ (‘delicatus’ in Latin) is ‘something that gives pleasure’ (compare with ‘delicious’ – food that is so tasty it gives one pleasure). This is why it is no surprise to discover the Hebrew term for ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’ is in fact ‘Gan Eden’ {גן עדן} – meaning the Garden of Eden…” (2018). Looking closely at the word ‘paradise’ one can see the Latin root of the word means “Garden of Eden” which is reflected in its Hebrew connections to the words ‘pleasure’ or ‘delight’. This connection supports Zong’s understanding that these paradises are created for a physical enjoyment as well as a philosophical contemplation. Furthermore, one could say that a paradise’s core being is rooted in a ‘pleasure to the seeker’ or ‘a delight to the patron’. I would say that if one thinks of Zong’s theme of the Garden of Eden- “an enclosed space of idealized existence” (Zong 2004) one could also understand it in the context of delight and pleasure - a bliss habitat for delight. Learn Hebrew Online. (2018, April 26). Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.hebrewversity.com/deeper-hebrew-meaning-garden-eden/

    1. Carolyn Merchant looks at environmentalism and its issues in a scope that is "understanding both The Mess We're In and the ways in which we've thought about that mess" (Buell 2). She poignantly points out the idea of recovering nature that we as a race have been struggling against since the start of our story. How the Garden of Eden showcases the peak and perfection of nature and then humans created a momentous disrupt of balance in nature with our presence, consumption, and actions. Now all environmental efforts are to reach for a recovery of nature to achieve the Garden of Eden status again. This idea pervades a multitude of landscape architecture practices today including ideas such as preservation, conservation, sustainability, reformation, resiliency, revitalization...the list goes on.

      (2004) Review essay, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 15:2, 107-109, DOI: 10.1080/10455750410001691632

  4. Aug 2020
    1. The first paragraph is basically an understanding that Ishtar is planning to be vengeful, but not merciless towards her people in Uruk. She first states that she is going to provide and take care of the people no matter how much wrath she brings towards Gilgamesh for refusing her love. She states that she has already prepared seven years’ worth of hay and chaff. Then her father gives her the rope to the Bull of Heaven to bring vengeance upon Gilgamesh. The second and third paragraphs support the idea that the Bull of Heaven represents drought. As it describes drying up the river 7 full cubits, which equates to 10.5 feet, and not only drying the river, but also the woodlands adjacent. To really make a point the bull starts snorting pits open swallowing hundreds of Gilgamesh’s city goers, as he is the king of Uruk. “In both Sumerian and Akkadian stories, the Bull of Heaven, whatever else it may symbolize, clearly represents the threat of drought. The Sumerian has Inanna leading the Bull of Heaven from the sky” (Maier 676). One can notice an obvious and quite clear representation of mythological phenoms to explain natural disasters and scientific concepts. In this case the Bull of Heaven, as Maier stated, represents drought. “Like plague and flood, drought is a disaster for large settled communities like Uruk, located on a flood plain.” That is why again Ishtar provided resources for after her settlement with Gilgamesh.

      Maier, J. R. (2018). 6. In Gilgamesh and the Great Goddess of Uruk (pp. 159-167). Brockport, NY: SUNY Brockport eBooks.

    1. I think there are similarities and major differences in the views of nature provided in this paragraph. There is a clear fear of nature that Enkidu expresses when "Enkidu again urges haste, telling Gilgamesh to kill Humbaba before the gods find out" (Andrew 36). This fear of nature is much more rare in today's society. Modern views are not expressive of fear towards landscapes (unless there is a natural disaster and even so not at the level of fear expressed here) due to the understanding of scientific explanations behind relationships and habits of nature. Modern day relationships of nature are much more prone to having a superiority complex of control over nature. In contrast, there is also a similarity of awe of nature that both today's society and Gilgamesh and Enkidu convey. "They stood there marvelling at the forest, gazing at the lofty cedars, gazing at forest’s entrance –" (Andrew 36). This is mirrored in our society putting landscapes on pedestals such of major parks and projects (i.e. Central Park, Yellowstone National Park, etc).