Harmony: Harlem’s Celebration of Life Earth Day Concert

Monday, May 08, 2006

Final Thoughts

Our project was not only innovative and necessary, it made sense. It was an experience that was rooted in conversation and celebration. We hope that no aspect of our plan or performance was environmentally "preacy" or invasive. Our invitation into the Senior's Garden by the seniors and the managers of the garden has left a wonderful impression on my value base, plans and hope for the future in the garden. I intend to continue to invest time and effort tending to the garden throughout the summer, possibly to utilize the space for summer concerts and festivals.


In the end, Harmony's Mission

Harmony is about sharing. Harmony, A Celebration of Life is about getting a neighborhood outside in its own garden for the sake of coming together outside in a garden. Our mission is no greater than that, but that has much to do with a great mission.
Environmentalism is struggling in its expression, and we have found ourselves unwilling to struggle. The words with which environmentalists work to express their mission have left us still fighting and moving too slowly towards the protection and conservation of our natural resources that we desire and know is necessary.
The neighborhood most struggling with environmental health, also happens to be the neighborhood closest to the Barnard community. Harlem is largely environmentally unaware, and its people's health have suffered greatly as a result of this.
Harmony is about Harlem regaining common experiences in the organic world. Our team hopes for people to re-member the organic things which surround them and to feel the biological connections to these organisms and elements. Considering the harshness of this concrete New York City landscape, this task is a difficult one to achieve. However, we intend to lead a neighborhood by the hand to their own garden, where hopefully they will be able to remember.
Harmony is about refusing to accept. It is about believing in a greater connection and understanding of humankind and life, where the connections rest on the shared resources of the Earth itself. We are here to help people re-member these connections. And we believe that sort of re-membering is only possible if people experience the connections themselves. For that, the collecting of a neighborhood to enjoy a spring afternoon together in a garden is one great achievement.
The event we have developed is to be supportive, encouraging, relaxed, with plenty of room for all to attend. We are not applying any pressure surrounding environmentalism because we do not believe that tactic is effective or beneficial. Instead we intend to lead Harlem residents to their own resources within their own neighborhood to show them what value lies in the forgotten green spaces next door. This in and of itself is great enough to alter people's perspectives and attitudes about much.

This page has been created and published by a Columbia University student, faculty or staff member as part of course or other requirements. The ideas and information expressed in this publication have not been approved or authorized by Columbia University, and the University shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with its publication. Columbia University is not responsible for the contents of any off-site information referenced herein.