Saturday, June 26, 2010

To be productive, to change, to accept and to grow

What would a productive downtown campus look like? This is a question I have begun asking myself, as I become more fluent in the concepts and theories of permaculture.

It's interesting how the meaning of productive has been changing and deepening, at least in my lexicon, over these past few months. It has broadened to encompass the landscape I find myself in, the relationships I'm part of. At the same time, I'm working to lose the original meaning, or at least the one I got ingrained with, the one that burdens, that eliminates humanity, that narrows existence down to simple questions of quantity regardless of quality, dare I say it, the capitalist's definition. It's what resonated with me on the last page of Rowan Jacobsen's Fruitless Fall (discussed in my post last Wednesday).

"The sun's disk touches the western hills. Shadows reach toward infinity across my meadow. I let it go wild this year. In the past I brush-hogged it every summer, but now that i know how many bumble bees make their homes in the tussocks of thick grass, I couldn't bear to do it. If there's one thing I've learned by paying attention to bees for a while, it's that we need to get rid of this false dichotomy between productive land and unproductive land. There's no such thing as unproductive natural land. There's only a failure of human insight to recognize the ways it contributes, a failure of human imagination to recognize what we need."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let us create something that we understand

Today is the day after the launch of our project. Seeing a large group of people celebrating the achievements to date and looking with us into the future felt rewarding and motivated me to continue on the path that I chose.

A few weeks back I flushed out a little concept for this post. I was going through some intense reflections about myself,what I acquired with my degree and my purpose after graduation, about value systems and how they can encourage us to engage in certain ways but also prevent us from seeing opportunities around us.

One thing every student realizes once getting involved in extra-curricular work is how big the divide between the reality that surrounds us and the ideal reality actually is. I studied Geography and Political Science and was amazed by how far academics have come and how little is actually applied in practice. Obviously there are so many factors (economic, social, etc) influencing this slow development, but here I would like to focus on the path itself rather than the problems along in. I would like to explore that space between now and a utopian reality that we are going for. This space in my eyes is creation, in the sense of making or invention. Before introducing my view on creation however I would like to give a little background in some systems theory that frames my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Launch, Logo, Dreams, Fears...

It's Wednesday morning, at 8am. I've been awake for an hour. We have our launch today, this afternoon in the Rooftop Greenhouse. I'm excited and, of course, nervous. Will it be enough? I've had many people send their regrets, people I hoped would be there - the Provost, the President, some professors. There wasn't a lot of notice for the invitation, so I understand. Still, I'm sad. These individuals have a great power to wield change for the better within our community. Opportunities to connect with them and share our work seem too rare. Especially given the magnitude of this crisis... more on that in a second.