Thursday, December 10, 2015
Objectifying Nature in Gardens
Objectifying nature, say with plants, limits our ability to respond ethically to environmental issues. When we choose a plant for our gardens just because its pretty or visually interesting, we are minimizing the role of nature to heal and adapt... we are minimizing our understanding of life, eroding ability for empathy, and privileging want over need, self over ecosystem. A garden ethic would imply we take into consideration something in addition to aesthetics -- beauty of purpose, fit, and function among other lives and concerns. Carbon sequestering, water filtering, soil building, pollinator feeding, habitat-giving beauty will make gardens gorgeous deep down to the roots; and it just might help us transcend our petty selves in landscapes otherwise made to alienate nature and make us feel superior to what we fear, and to what we don't understand. Can we be humble in our gardens, and understand or feel how uplifting, how empowering that is?