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  • Writer's pictureagprat

The Woods and “How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis”

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

It was a simple plan: to have a nice walk in the woods on a cloudy fall day in New England. The destination was Concord, MA. There is always so much beauty in the familiar trails and paths of this town… This time, for a change, the decision was to investigate an area that had been ignored on so many previous visits. Soon, I found myself in what felt like a magical forest in which I could explore the miracle of the season within its marvelous ecosystem, on each birch or pine tree, along with my own introspection about Nature. I could not think of anything better to make this moment even more glorious, my communion with Her. To my surprise, at various points along the trail, I was delighted to discover the powerful words of Thoreau -- observations and perceptions -- in his quotations and in those of minds alike, incised in granite and cast in bronze along the trails; eloquent and inspiring phrases embedded in the woods. One that especially resonated was:

"We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world … We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to co-operate in its processes, and to yield to its limits … For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.” by Wendell Berry (“A Native Hill,” in The Long-Legged House. New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1969. page 196.)*

I could not think of a better moment to meditate on my recurrent concern about climate crisis. Humility to and reverence for Nature will be key factors in our success to reverse course on this other crisis we currently experience.

Recently, I joined a few of my artist friends to envision an art exhibit about our concerns with regards to the climate crisis: “How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis”, which is now on exhibit at the Virtual Gallery of the Multicultural Arts Center through December 31st. In addition to my work, the exhibit features artwork by Jeffrey Nowlin, Michelle Lougee , Maria Celeste Linardi, and Cedric Harper. Through different processes, which includes the repurposing of reclaimed materials (otherwise bound for the landfill) and traditional painting media, each of us created images meant to raise awareness and inspire action within the viewer against consumerism and a frivolous lifestyle.

Our hopes for the exhibit are to bring people together while presenting artwork that stimulates a conversation about the climate crisis. Thus, the exhibit will include an event, “How Do We Relate to the Climate Crisis: A Community Panel Discussion”, free and open to the public, which will feature a panel of Climate Crisis Experts and Advocates. The event will take place virtually on Thursday Dec 3rd at 6:30 PM EST. We want to facilitate a connection with a wider net of climate crisis perspectives, creating a space to inform the viewer. Stay tuned for more information on the panel event coming up in my website!

Image: The last island (detail), mixed media on canvas paper, 16 x 12 inches, not for sale. This painting is currently on view at the “How Do We relate to the Climate Crisis” exhibit at the Virtual Gallery of the Multicultural Arts Center. If you are interested in other paintings, or to ask me for commissions, please contact me here.

*If you are in the Boston area, I recommend you visit the Walden Woods, The Walden Woods Project, Thoreau’s Path on Brister’s Hill.

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