Harmony: Harlem’s Celebration of Life Earth Day Concert

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Back to Life

Jam in the Garden

So, it seems that our project is continuing to evolve. Such evolution has its ups and downs especially when it comes to the design process. Trying to come up with a theme and develop a coherent design for the promotion of any event can be quite challenging. However, that process is made even more so when dealing with an event that is still in the process of development.

Our project began as a celebration of life in Harlem, then it shifted to an on campus celebration of life in the upper Manhattan community, and now once again it has undergone a metamorphosis into a celebration of life and art in the garden. As one can imagine, all three forms of our event are relevant to the local community as well as to environmental concerns, however, because the concept between each is different the designs and relevant imaging for each is different as well.

Thus, the design and imaging portion of Jam in the Garden must begin anew. For the new variation of our event I hope to be able to create images and art work that reflect the importance of local parks, gardens, and wildlife in the everyday lives of local New Yorkers. I hope to highlight the joy and energy that these elements bring to our lives. I will travel to local parks and around the city in attempt to capture New Yorkers interacting with the environment.

However, all things considered, just as our last shift in event theme seemed to bring more relevance to our goal, so does this latest shift. After all, this class is about environmental ethics and the ways in which people can make changes to interact positively with nature. And what better way is there to highlight such interactions than by focusing on gardening.

Gardening and human cultivation of nature in general is a wonderful issue to bring to the forefront in our community. Why? Well because our interaction with nature is vital to positive mental health, physical health, and environmental health. Human interaction with nature, whether it be a casual stroll through the park, tilling a garden, diving the Atlantic, lounging on the beach or hiking through the forest has long been a source of solace and inspiration to people.

Especially in the bustling streets of Manhattan, people rarely take the time to pry themselves away from their respective computer screens and “smell the roses.” New Yorkers, and people and general, have become entities removed from nature and the experience of life. We search for the answer to our burgeoning levels of stress, depression and anxiety in a plethora of prescription drugs, when maybe we should really be looking to how unnatural our lives have become. When most people spend every waking moment in the confines of air conditioned cars and sterile office cubicles, eating processed Franken-food, glued to computer screens and almost completely sedentary, I would be amazed to find one person who feels in touch with nature.

What we need is a reintroduction of the role nature and our interaction with it can enrich our lives and the environment. In many ways, it is overwhelmingly sad that we need to be reminded of this. However, by bringing at least a few people back to the garden, back to life, nature, and some semblance of normalcy we hope to be able to remind each other just how important interacting with and being a part of nature is.

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