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March 14, 2018     Post 91
Can Art Save Us All?

Can Art Save Our Lake (and us)?

Legal Standing for the Great Lakes involves a lot of dry legalese language. I'm thinking it could use a boost from art.

Today I learned of the existence of an academic discipline called Environmental Humanities. A university in California (where else!) offers coursework exploring relationships between humans and nature through visual arts, literature, music and video. No doubt those relationships need help.

We do need new ways to get the word out that people are part of nature and that there's life beyond your smart phone.Maybe the Humanities folks can help do that. Unfortunately, science communication has had to rely on words and math with a dash of visual arts, mostly in the form of graphs. Often the writing is laced with esoteric vocabulary and cumbersome sentence structure.

Chew on this one called Liebig's Law of the Minimum- “Among required chemical factors the controlling factor will be the one available in the smallest fraction of the amount needed.” Or try this; “In some noctuids tracheae form a reflecting tapetum beneath the eye...”

Good art they say engages the senses. I consider my sailboat and her use to be close to an art form. When I'm sailing I feel the lift of the hull, I hear the rush of the water past it, and sometimes I smell the fragrances of the offshore land breeze. She is a lens that sharply focuses the nature and the lake around me. Sailboats are also beautiful. Sara B has had her portrait painted at least three times that I know of.

Good art makes us perceive reality differently. We badly need a new relationship with nature and water. The personhood for nature and the commons movements both seek to re-establish a relationship that existed for 100,000 years between our ancestors and their surroundings.

Once we moved to a model of controlling our food supply through agriculture that relationship began to change. Today urban humanity is profoundly isolated from nature. Where does your water come from? Where does your waste go? “Away” down the drain or into the garbage truck on Monday is not the correct answer. We need every art form out there to change that.

Grant Wilson recently launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for his Personhood For The Lakes effort. He writes that the University of Wisconsin is holding a two day forum on the subject in March with legal scholars doing presentations and discussing the topics with law students. (I would love to be there!) Mr. Wilson wants to get a bunch of brochures and printed literature out there explaining the concept of Rights For The Lakes explained.

Visit his Go Fund me site for more information. You'll have to cut and paste the link because I FORGOT how to embed one here! Sorry.


more soon …

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