Have You Ever Wandered Lonely Through the Woods?

From Brandi Carlile “Have you ever”:

have you ever wandered lonely through the wood?
and everything it feels just as it should
you’re part of the life there, part of something good
if you’ve ever wandered lonely through the woods

How many urban dwellers would say no, that they have never wandered through the woods, and what does that mean for increasing awareness of sustainability?

This is a question I have been pondering more and more lately as I spend time living, working, and studying Asia’s urban environments and creating programs that will engage urban residents. In fact, the more time I spend in the urban environments of Asia, the more I have grown to appreciate the fact that I grew up surrounded by nature. Playing hide and seek in the woods, going to parks, and playing a pick up soccer games on an open field.

I count myself as lucky to have had these experiences, as it was through these experiences that my tie to nature was solidified. And that as I have grown older I have been able to maintain a tangible relationship to nature, even in the absence of it.

For me nature.. the environment… sustainability is tangible.

For others, this relationship isn’t so strong, if it exists at all. Parks may serve as the only bit of nature a city has besides its zoo, and as the density of cities increases, many of these parks are not even big enough to protect those inside the park from the sounds of the city. Much less create a bond that the average citizen would protect. For many, nature is simply a pool of resources that are available to support a lifestyle, even a green one.

And with billions more mo moving urban centers, this will become the norm. Which many not be a problem for urban planners, but for anyone who has a personal or professional concern with sustainability, this will be one of the core issues.

That, as populations urbanize (which drives consumption), a tangible relationship to the environment needs to be formed for these planned urban centers to operate “sustainably”

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One Response to Have You Ever Wandered Lonely Through the Woods?

  1. When I talk to Chinese people who live in cities, they often remember their early years in their parents’ farms and are quite happy about their current lifestyle. They seem to associate “being close to nature” with backwardness, lack of comfort, and inconvenience.

    They still enjoy a good hike in a natural part on the weekend (we are lucky to have a few good options here in Shenzhen). But that’s about the extent to which their kids spend time in the woods…

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