• Joy

Racial Injustice in Nature

I'm waking up now and I'm late — there are no excuses why — to learning about the impacts of systemic racism and the oppressive force of white supremacy.

I've seen many posts like the one i'm writing here, of people sharing about their anti-racist practice and intentions. No matter how much work I've done, I need to do more. This is not a seasonal effort it is part of the marathon energy that's needed to ensure that Black Lives Matter is something that gets woven into systems and structures at every level. In an attempt to limit how much virtue signalling I do on here I will keep this focused on one thing I'm learning about, and keeps going round in my head, the issue (which intersects many other issues) of racial injustice in relation to nature and access to it.

With nature being the core to all the creative practices I do — Shiatsu, Acutonics, nature-connection, gardening, growing food, using plants as medicine — many questions have been raised about the source of these practices, who they can reach in the face of systemic racism and how white and privileged the sectors (horticultural, art, wellness & wellbeing) my work fall into are. Generally (from my observations) these sectors have been posting regular content and staying scarily silent about what is happening in the world right now.

For me, it has become so stark how race informs ones relationship to nature. Even with values of diversity and accessibility woven into my practice of deepening people's connection to nature, never before have I realised and felt the deep sadness when learning about the hindered and oppressed experiences of so many Black Indigenous and other People of Colour when in nature.

I'm beginning to have awareness that it is a (white) privilege to be able to access nature, learn from it, study it and feel at ease there, something I have been blind to and naively thought since nature doesn't discriminate that it would be a safe place for everyone and an abundant place that upholds our wellbeing, whilst I overlooked the racial discrimination that humans bring into spaces of nature. Now it is very clear how laced with privilege those thoughts were.

I feel I should not reduce connection with nature in response, but make a stand to bring humility, awareness and action into my practices to address racial injustices playing out in nature and beyond. Also to address conversations that illuminate injustice starting with this one closest to home — It's time we spoke honestly about what keeps nature out of reach for some and not others.

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