Urban- Nature- Trash
Hello and happy Monday,
As an activist-scholar I am Dionysian in my initial approach to “research.” Today, I introduce a series of video’s that explore what Heron and Reason refer to as co-operative inquiry cycles. This method is outlined in chapter 12 of the Handbook of Action Research (2008) and discusses the transpersonal inquiry of medical practitioners as they explore holistic medicine. My account blends their AR process with Urban-Nature1 beautification.
This past Earth Day, April 22 my brother and I went for a walk in Eden Park. We decided to explore the wooded hill from lower Kemper Avenue to the main Ohio River overlook. As we entered the woods at the bottom of the hill we were taken aback by the amount of trash littered throughout this section of the park. After completing our initial ascent, we went back to my residence, got 4 trash bags, a camera with video capabilities, and retraced our steps through the woods to pick up the misplaced refuse. As you read this entry, please follow along with three YouTube video postings of our Urban-Nature-Trash experience.
According to Heron and Reason, there are 4 steps to co-operative inquiry; the first being an exploration of agreed upon human activity, in our case, a walk though the woods (145). The second phase of research involves becoming co-subjects and engaging in action that satisfies both parties (145). This phase occurred after our initial observations (mostly disgust) and is embodied in our decision to clean up this segment of Eden Park.
The third step in co-operative inquiry is when the co-subjects become fully immersed in and engaged with the action and experience (145). For us, this was the physical act of picking up the trash. An important aspect of this third phase is the unpredicted action and creative insights that flow from process.
The fourth and final step in when the researchers or practitioners re-assemble to share their experiences and data (146). For my brother and I, this step occurred after we had filled our bags to the brink, despite the large amounts of trash that still inhabited the hillside. We found ourselves sitting just below the crest of the hill, listening to music from car stereos in the park, and contemplating the residential high rises over looking the park, the Ohio River, and Northern Kentucky. It was during this part of our journey that we made the pact to return to the park with more trash bags, people, and time later that week.
Notes and reflective thoughts:
1. The concept Urban-Nature applies to segments of our natural environment that are essentially enclosed by our built environments. These unique pieces of “nature” are set aside for enjoyment and use by the surrounding populations. Parks located within cities and suburbs typically have well worn walking paths, makeshift homeless shelters, and misplaced pieces of trash that provide common markers of Urban-Nature.
2. I simply cannot believe the amount the trash littered throughout the sparsely traveled parts of this amazing park.
3. While picking up the trash we were bombarded by labels and advertisements of our consumer goods. I felt the desire to contact these respective organizations and politely request their assistance in cleaning up the misplaced end products of their supply chain.
4. As an environmentalist, I am intrigued by our culture’s propensity to drive automobiles to nature-recreating areas. Nature has become something separate from our urban and suburban environments. We must travel to “enjoy” nature.
5. This type of action was repeated in Eden Park and Brunette Woods later that week.
Onwards and Upwards,