Near our home, on the edge of the bay, is a boardwalk through a tiny piece of mangrove forest. It’s not long, 800 metres or so. The boardwalk is never deserted, it is always quiet.
Every visit seems a little different as tide and season reveal different facets of the mangrove ecosystem. The children have been here for family walks several times and are familiar with some different points to pause and notice the multispecies and more than human others. A board walk keeps visitors out of the mud (much to the relief of local washing machines) and allows visitors to observe with little repeated impact on this ecosystem.
We are living in an era, the Anthropocene, where human impact has multiplied caused measurable alterations to geologic and climatic conditions (Instone & Taylor, 2015; Todd, 2015). Researchers and philosophers have proposed that humans need to consider they are a part of, not apart from, an interconnected net of relationships that form a shared space we all use (Haraway, 2008; Todd, 2015). This net would include relationships between different flora and fauna including humans, features of the landscapes, climactic conditions are all considered part of this (Instone & Taylor, 2015). This view of nonliving and living beings being interconnected has a lot in common with indigenous beliefs in different parts of the world (Todd, 2015).
A collective walking approach is being used for this project, based on the approach described in Experimenting with Collective Walking Techniques (click here) and used in the project Walking in Wild Weather Times (click here). Collective walking is slow. Walkers stop to notice and look for interesting things. Whether that be a spiderweb, a leaf, a tide at a different height. Walkers discuss connections they make and theories they have. In this way walkers are learning of others, with others and from others. It is hoped that by walking and noticing the others who share our world, awareness of those others will develop, then understanding and acceptance of their place in the world will follow (Haraway, 2008). Links here to Belonging, Being and Becoming: Early Years Learning Framework. Particularly with Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world. The blog will then become an multispecies, ethnographic journey.
Haraway, D. J. (2008), When Species Meet. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
Instone, L & Taylor, A. (2015) Thinking about inheritance through the figure of the anthropocene, from the antipodes and in the presence of others. Environmental Humanities 7, 133-150.Retrieved from http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol7/7.7.pdf
Todd, Z. (2015) Indigenizing the Anthropocene. In H. Davis & E. Turpin Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters among aesthetics, politics, environments and epistemologies. London, UK: Open Humanities Press.