Reply To: 24.3 Urban Ecology

Author Replies
Meghan Buurmans # Posted on January 5, 2016 at 01:15

My very late reflection 🙂

Reflection Urban Ecology

There are a number of issues that were raised or that I noticed while we were on the farm in Granby. I partially want to reflect on the division between nature and human and connect that to the division between urban and rural. Additionally, I would like to consider some ethical viewpoints.

Automatically in academia we seem to try to create groups, categories and opposites. In our field, that is mostly the human versus nature of course, although we’ve discussed before whether there is such a distinction and if so, where is the border. Additionally, and especially when it comes to planning and related fields, the urban versus the rural is important. An easy connection can be made to see the urban as human made and the rural areas as much more natural or part of nature. However, there are some issues with these categories. As we discussed, there is wild and nature in the city and that many farms for example are created and adapted by humans. I personally believe the distinction between both opposites is useless and is not one or the other. Especially in the case of rural and urban, there are many border areas, of which the clearest example is of course the edge of a city, where the distinction becomes blurry. I am guilty of using the distinction between nature and human myself, but here too I believe in blurred areas and perhaps a line with many possible combinations, instead of one or the other. I think the problem here lies with the ease of talking using these terms. Without using these distinctions, topics such as the Granby farm become much harder to discuss. Perhaps the best way is to not judge people to strongly and have their arguments be limited to literacy discussions, but instead use these terms as arbitrary means of helping us.

I think the Granby farm is a good example of the blurriness between human and nature and between urban and rural. These animals are not human obviously, but we discussed that they would not survive without humans or in the wild, so they can’t really be considered part of the pure untamed nature. What I found interesting in our discussion was the mention of the purpose of the farm. Firstly, does it even matter what the farm’s purpose is if people use it for their own ideas? Secondly, it was mentioned by some that the farm is meant to show children where our food comes from, among other things. I find that a bit hard to believe, both because in my experience, people are usually careful with children. They might know that meat comes from animals that are killed, but that is not the same as seeing and hearing this while petting a goat. The farm also used the nuclear family, explaining that there was a mama and a papa and a child chicken or pig. To me it more likely that children learn about animals they might not see otherwise in a place like this. What is ethical or what we should do is of course a whole different question, to which I do not have the answer!