I love the wonders arising from urban ecology (the study of the interactions and relationships among living organisms and non-living things in the urban environment). I find human-nature interplay in the city so utterly cool that I’ve decided to write a blog about the allure of the Urban Ecological Fabric - the dynamic intertwined set of living and non-living layers and elements woven together by human actions and natural processes. This fabric is rich, diverse, boldly patterned, nuanced, beautiful, alive. Its offerings to those who delve are as fascinating as anything that Disney or Apple has to offer. To reap, you just need to know how to feel, see, taste, smell, hear the essences and facets of the fabric. Such sensory-driven exploration and discovery are what my blog is all about.
Do you regard the dynamic interaction between our natural and built environment with wonder, amazement, and an intense desire to engage in full body and mind immersion in the urban-eco fray? If not (yet), welcome, welcome to my blog. I hope to enlighten.
If you are reading this, you are probably human. If you are like most humans, you view the human world and the natural world as wholly separate. If you are like some, you view humans as vitally connected to and part of nature. A glance at a typical urban, suburban, or agricultural landscape immediately reveals that we humans as a living species have lost or severed our former connection to the rest of nature. We have clearly staked out our subdivisions, our farms, our streets, our malls. And, we have carefully inserted or preserved our zoos, our public gardens, our parks, our wildlife refuges. If we choose, we can safely visit the symbolic reminders or the remnant fragments of the environments that our ancestors lived fully within not very long ago.
I want us to Restore Our Connection with nature. Why? At a relatively high level, one that centers on the long-term health and survival of our species and all others, nature disconnect is directly related to a host of major environmental issues, such as mass species extinction, mass habitat destruction, potable water shortage, and atmospheric carbon overload (global warming). Before we can truly resolve such issues, we need to know how to relate to our fellow nature as members of nature, not merely as environmental fixers apart from nature. We cannot fix our biosphere from the outside looking in, akin to tinkerers toying with a closed ecosystem. We need to act with full awareness that we are biologically related to all other members of nature. We are but one influential component (keynote species) of the superorganism called Life. Any tangible improvement in the ecological health of our environment begins with first-hand environmental awareness and direct connection with nature.
For now, take the preceding, sobering paragraph, and place it on your book shelf, for later. The pulsing heart of my blog is the sheer awesomeness and marvel that abound within our immediate surroundings- our intricately, dazzlingly woven Urban Ecological Fabric. I want us to Restore Our Connection with nature because doing so is so damn gratifying, fun, fascinating, and alive. As humans, we are uniquely wired to appreciate and relish, through sensory-based exploration, the multi-layered fibers of the Urban Eco Fabric, vacant lot ecosystems, pigeon survival strategy, heavenly trees of the city, abandoned piers-turned-peninsulas, trestles and viaducts, ginkgo berry essence, ginkgo leaf texture, city stalactites and stalagmites, American eel odysseys, Asian clam immigration, tasty invasives, life in cracks and fissures, dandelion tenacity, milkweed and monarchs, honeysuckle sipping, eyes and wings of a dragonfly, praying mantis voraciousness, underground streams, schist revelations, algae abloom on concreted seepage, spontaneous citizen landscape design, abandoned cemetery vibrancy, American lawn love, naturalized reservoirs, tidal archaeology, the red-eared sliders are coming, purple loosestrife on the loose, concrete forests.
Such will be our feral fodder for discussion.
Let’s celebrate the Fabric.