Cover Title: Rein’s Moonlight
Business: Painting Party
Contact: 0448 930 223
A Painting pARTy is a way to meet new people, catch up with your friends, organise a date night experience or any celebration in Cairns. From beginners to Picasso we provide a unique way to celebrate your birthday, hens, team building, private events, theme parties and dinner parties. We promote inclusion, connection, deliver step by step instructions to build skills for beginners and invite all levels of artistic interest. Now in my third year, I have a feeling Painting pARTies are much more than that, because it’s really all about you. I aim and hope to bring a point of difference to your entertainment options.
We are spending more and more time inside on our screens, and less and less time outside in nature. While American journalist Richard Louv coined the term nature-deficit disorder to denounce modern society’s increasing lack of time in nature, Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht talks about solastalgia, the distress that people experience when their environment is negatively impacted. Today, more than ever, our relationship with nature is being impacted and needs to be reconsidered if we want to live happy and healthy lives.
As part of my PhD in Environmental Sociology, I study how people connect to nature. Our relationship with nature starts in our mind, with our ideas and beliefs about it. Human/nature dualism is an important concept in environmental sociology, and depicts human and nature as being separate and different. For instance, we often believe that nature and cities are opposite, or that humans are superior to plants. These beliefs are expression of the human/nature dualism. They are assumptions inherited from Western culture, and we sometimes forget they are not shared by the whole world. Most indigenous communities have a view of nature that does not exclude the notion of home; nature is their home.
From a Western point of view, there are different ways to perceive nature. Nature can be neutral, in which case it is generally called nature, a term which includes everything from a park to your backyard, to the ocean or the desert. Or nature can be specific and be called wilderness, which symbolises a pristine nature, remote from human activity. As such, wilderness has become a concern for environmental sociologists as it describes an ideal more than a reality. Heavily romanticised, the notion of a nature that remains pure from human interactions, a nature in which humans are not supposed to be (for by being there, the wilderness would no longer be wild) is both false and inadequate. In Australia, human beings have inhabited nature for 40,000 years. The notion of wilderness, which some academics denounce as a myth, is at the core of the human/nature dualism. We live in cities yet dream about our next holidays in a National Park or on a remote deserted beach. Nature is always out there, we leave our home to go there awhile then we leave nature to go back home. Home is never where nature is. So while authors denounce our lost connection to nature, I argue that the first step to reconnecting to nature starts in our minds, by questioning our very ideas about it.
Changing our ideas about what nature is is an important step in the reconnection process in urban areas. We need to engage with the nature that is right around us, to then be able to connect to the wider web of nature that, ultimately, is the whole planet. A city park can be thought of as an inferior form of nature, less tranquil and pure than an area of wilderness, yet it is our first link to nature.
Here are a few tips to bring more nature into your home and heal any feeling of separation:
– Spend 30 minutes a day in the nature nearest to your home. You could read in a park, do some gardening, walk at a nearby beach.
– Decorate your home with indoor plants. They will purify the air, create a peaceful environment, and tending to them is very grounding.
– Gardening. If you live in an apartment, grow herbs, greens and even tomatoes in pots on your balcony. You can also have a mini-garden in the form of jars of sprouts on the kitchen bench.
– Choose natural materials. You can use wooden cutlery, bowls and plates; sleep in bed sheets made of simple linen or organic cotton, stock food in glass rather than plastic.
– Eat a plant-based diet. Eating nature is another way to experience it. It will connect you to the seasons and help you consider the origin of your food.
– Compost organic waste. Food waste is a huge problem in Australia. Food scraps, veggie peels, and other organic matter put in plastic bags and buried in landfill are not going to rot properly, due to lack of oxygen, they will actually generate pollution. Worm bins are an easy option when living in an apartment, or if you have a garden, you can try and make your own compost pile.
Melusine Martin is a PhD candidate at James Cook University and Paris-Sorbonne Université and a research assistant for the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program led by AIMS and CSIRO. She has specialised in environmental sociology, environmental philosophy and ecofeminism.
Want to help my research?
As part of my PhD research, I am launching an online survey to understand how people perceive nature today. Whether you are living a green lifestyle, trying to be low- or zero-waste, homesteading in a rural or urban context, an eco-activist or you simply love nature; every eco-conscious person (above 18) is invited to participate. The survey is done online, takes 15 minutes to answer, and you can win $100 worth of iTunes vouchers by taking it!
Link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thinkingnature
Questions or comments? Email me: email@example.com