Nature is no outside of ourselves; we are Nature. Culture is a mirror of who we are as a species, a society, a community; it is a barometer of health, an evolving canvas for life. Landscape is a human conception, constructed of our goals and aspirations, built from necessity, avarice, invention and imagination. This course will examine layers of the nature/human relationship; how conceptualizations of “the outside” impact ways we continue to shape the planet and be shaped by it intentionally and by default, and how art can play a role towards environmental conservation. These roles can range from increasing the set of skills of environmental professionals to improving performance and communication, ultimately to be able to shape human behaviour towards sustainable practices.
Environmental issues are becoming increasingly complex and addressing them requires bridging across the sciences, art and the humanities. We will examine how human attitudes, values and behaviors shape the world we live in today, and the directions we have yet to go. This course is intended to open dialogue and personal reflection on the state of the land and what it says about human beings. In it students will be asked to go beyond simply learning about the complex environmental issues we face today, to thinking critically and understanding what can be done to address them.
Course goals will be achieved through lectures, readings, documentaries, site visits, discussions, an essay, hands on individual and team projects, and presentations.