The events of the past several weeks—the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor by police officers--exposes the extreme systemic racism and violence directed at certain human beings because of the color of their skin.
These deaths follow the horrific murders of Black people by law enforcement over the past several years--Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddy Gray, and sadly many more.
And these deaths overlay the wretched circumstances of the last few decades: mass incarceration, persistent discrimination, and lack of access to decent housing and environmental conditions, banking, education, and health care.
Which follow the shame of the past three centuries: slavery and all of its brutality and Jim Crow.
Racism is a human invention. It does not exist in nature. Yes, to quote Tennyson, there is the image of nature “red in tooth and claw”, a world of Darwinian competition. But that is different.
Nature does not discriminate, and there is much we can learn from our interactions with nature. How we admire the beauty of nature’s kaleidoscope of variation! The rainbow of colors of birds and flowers; the alluring shades of green among plants; the stripes, spots, blotches, of mammals fill us with awe and wonder. Would we ever suggest that one hue of flower is to be singled out, castigated, and destroyed? Would we dare say that a blue flower is somehow less worthy than a pink flower, or that a yellow bird is less of a bird because of its tint?
And yet, all too often people of color find themselves viewed and treated as lesser humans simply because of their skin color. All too often the color of one’s skin can lead to a destiny that is diminishing, with opportunities denied, and futures destroyed.
This is a human invention, and we have the capability to remedy the widespread racism that has become impossible to “white wash”. Let us learn from our encounters with nature to think no less of fellow human beings because of the color of their skin.
About this Blog
Hi! I'm Nancy Kopans, founder of Urban Edge Forest Therapy. Join me on an adventure to discover creative ways to connect with nature in your daily life, ways that are inspired by urban surroundings that can reveal unexpected beauty, with the potential to ignite a sense of wonder.