I am interested in nature inspired creative works and for the start of 2016, I thought I would share a story about bird song. It will be several months before most birds will begin to sing but you can hear bird-song inspired compositions at composer Peter Cowdrey and musician Liz Cowdrey’s web site Conference of Birds. I was intrigued by how the Cowdreys connected bird song to a broader cultural experience. Nature inspired music has been around for a long time but always within another cultural paradigm. The example of the Cowdreys indicates that nature inspired works are well underway. What is missing is a broader cultural tent beneath which these works can reside.
A goal of a Nature Culture is nature sustained by cultural tradition. Put simply, without nature there is no Nature Culture. Over the coming months, I will write more on this subject but to start a new year, a resolution seems timely to take the first steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle at home.
To get you started, consider doing a personal audit of what you use and see where you can make adjustments towards a more sustainable lifestyle. List all the things you buy and use – food, clothing, transportation, cleaning products, water, air, home heating etc. For each one, examine if the way it is made or harvested is sustainable. You will discover that some things are easy to change while others are more difficult or you might be unwilling to change. Make the easy changes on your next shopping visit and consider how you might tackle the more difficult tasks. The choice of things we buy is one way to encourage sustainable products and there are many sustainable products now available.
Whether you choose to do a personal audit or not, you might want to start a tradition among family and friends where you celebrate nature where you live. Food is a traditional way to celebrate events and a place to explore how much food comes from sustained practices. Sustainable food makes an interesting dinner conversation especially when it is pot luck. The Pacific WildLife Foundation holds a pot luck each year with lots of surprises in store. Our family has held several of these feasts and the the theme was first used by The Nature Trust of BC dinner at the Deep Bay Field Station a few years ago. The Active Pass Art and Nature Festival also had a local dinner where I spoke about Nature Culture. I will be speaking about Nature Culture at the 2016 Active Pass Art and Nature Festival on Galiano at the end of April and holding a workshop at Hollyhock from June 29 to July 3.