Our version of North European practice is influenced by our culture, American virtues and values. For instance, instead of a movement away from the negative aspects of civilization, we could and should work to change those aspects to positives.
One of the things we are working on here at Weaving Wyrd is to revere nature within the urban world that we live in, to see the spiritual in all things, the city park as well as the mountains. We want to recognize the coyote or fox in our backyard, the prairie dog in our green belts, the Canadian goose, sparrow, peregrine falcon and pigeon alike.
Sometimes that’s hard. Here in Denver, we live in the skirts of the Rocky Mountains, and as we walk the crowded sidewalks, breathing in exhaust, those mountains seem so much better, purer, more spiritual than the glass, brick and concrete. But that is an ingrained perception, based in a hundred and more years of the dislike of urbanization. From the pollution to the moral destitution, cities are seen as unnatural places.
But we built them. We planted trees and built parks. Now we have to fix them, just as much as we have to fix oil spills, over-logging and poaching in more wild places.
Denver is becoming green in interesting, if slow, ways. New buildings that are built are more environmentally friendly, with planned communities and green space. The light rail eases the pollution of cars for the commute around the southern part of the city. We have incentives to be greener and cleaner here in Denver.
According to the Nature Conservancy, one of my favorite charities, “If there is a future of the environmental movement, it’s one that’s more diverse and one that has more people from urban areas in it.”
82% of Americans live in cities.
Only 45% of people born between 1980 and 2000 believe that all people should be connected to nature.
Direct experience with nature is the number one factor influencing a positive outlook on the environment.
As Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy put it,
Conservation should be a walk in the park, not just the woods.
Your mileage will most certainly vary.