Sunday, 25 September 2011

Initial Data: stories, anecdotes and photos -Connection with nature

Part of my initial research data was gathered by asking members of the public for anecdotes, stories and photos relating to an experiences of nature, natural systems or an experience you have had with reconnecting with nature, even if it was a short as one word.

-"I've had a think about one word that could maybe invoke the feelings of being outdoors surrounded by nature. (I'm not even sure that there is such a word in English - maybe there is in another language....)

Something like "joy" - but more a mixture of inner peace and contentment with a rush of excitement and energy (the latter a feeling that you see expressed with dogs when they get let of their leads in the park and run around in great loops of happiness). "

(Is there a word in another language for the feeling of being in nature? freedom and happiness)
-"I did my permaculture design course at Monimail Tower just over two year ago. One afternoon we made a clay oven for making pizzas. The clay had been dug up locally by someone who was building a house extension, and we had a great time trampling straw into it and shaping it into a domed oven, placed just outside the house.
A little later, as we were having dinner in the house, I looked out through the big picture window at the oven we had made and at the Lomond hills beyond, and saw right away that we had made the third Lomond. The shape was uncannily like that of East Lomond.
I don't think anyone had consciously designed it that way, but it was very satisfying to see artifice mimicking nature without conscious intention."

Mark O'Reilly
Academic Achievement Teaching Unit, University of Dundee
(satisfying process- process becomes fun, mimicking nature unconsciously)

-"For me personally, I found it quite empowering when I learned to make
bread. It became much easier, but only started when I bought a
breadmaker, from there I moved on to making it by hand and now I make
pizza without even looking at a recipe book.

I think I started making bread because I wanted to taste better bread,
the supermarket loaves weren't that good, and the breadmaker made it
easier but not necessarily as good as I expected. Trying the pizza
dough by hand made me realise that
I could do better without a
I think it is like when I started cycling, I did it for
affordable transport but found so much more to the experience and it
became a passion

(Better quality and more satisfying with less technology, making a more sustainable lifestyle into an enjoyable experience.)

-"I just ran a Wild Food Walk down here in St Andrews. A whole bunch of people showed up. Around 40 in total. I led them through some of the wilder parts of St Andrews and they really enjoyed it. Some had never actually gone looking for St Andrews' wilder side and were pleasantly surprised to discover it so close and accessible."

(allot of interest getting back nature, learning outdoor foraging skills and finding wilder areas
just outside their back door.)
-"I got into permaculture by living and working at Monimail Tower Project in North East Fife. It's a very diverse site which aims to be self sufficient on Veg, Fruit and Fire wood.
I attended a one day introduction with Ed Tyler and instantly connected with permaculture Ethics, Principles and Design Process."

(Ethics, Principles and design process)
-"I thought that on our Chritmas mailing this year we'd put the first verse of Good King Wenceslas as Rich has been gathering winter fuel for months now! It's what he says each time he sets off!

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gathering winter fuel"

Rich Philip, Dundee Resident

(Making mundane task into a tradition or game)

-"I went cycling on my own on the N1 this summer (see picture attached). I'd say that experience reconnected me with nature."


"I do wonder how something so beautiful as this view can be the creation of methods so ugly. The colours are so astounding; the mix of the synthetic and the natural, fizzing electrons of sodium and neon ignited by bucket loads of electricity and then the lapis lazuli, the deep blue of evening, bathing it all in calm. One a reminder of finite energy and the other of continuity. Planets revolving round one another, the night which always comes after the day, as it has done for centuries. It dulls down the pang of worry that fifty years from now, young adults like me will look out a window and won’t see this, because bucket loads of energy can no more be created and they will never have anything like this to light up the darkness again. I hate that because they won’t have the fuel to fly planes like this one, aerial views will be for the pleasure of birds only. I curse that I have a carbon footprint like everyone else but then again rejoice at images such as these. I am a walking contradiction. Is it just the yin and yang of life or can we tip the balance? The beads of light a translucent map tracing the footfall of humanity, it’s parasitic habitation of the gentle blue land lit up in glorious flames.

Just one of those fleeting thoughts I thought I should write down because
I’ll forget it tomorrow and take for granted hot water and lightbulbs and bright bright computer screens upon which I record these words"

( The mixing of synthetic and natural design can be beautiful. The worry that children of the future will not be able to enjoy life as we do. The worry of taking life as we currently live for granted.)

"Coming accross animals, happy, in their natural environment, always inspires me and gives me cause for introspection. If I could describe myself with any animal it would be these dear fellows- teenage Mallard ducklings. They’ve lost almost all their cute yellow down and are quite grown up size wise. All this counts for nothing because they only have wing stubs at the moment. They’re at the mercy of gravity and so still completely dependent on their mum for safety and food. Do they feel as trapped and chained as I sometimes do? Or are they excited because flying is surely tantalisingly close and only a few months growth divides them from the feeling of air under feathers and the sweet sweat, tears and ecstasy of survival?"

(trapped and reliant on others for our survival, freedom comes from being able to sustain yourself, or is survival about having to rely on others and them rely on you equally?)


(I have omitted peoples names to maintain confidentiality)

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