A mediocre salesperson, I’m incapable of convincing people to buy something, much less changing their view of the environment completely. I admit this, and am thankful that change is not a sales-pitch, but a factor dependent on the internal wisdom of each individual. Wisdom is the growth that knowledge and experience produce in a person. The challenge for me, and perhaps for many of my peers (other artists working this year in Central America) is to generate experiences that can lead to wisdom through art.
The last meeting with our youth group was geared to create intimate experience with nature as a crucial ingredient in a more holistic effort to environmental education. The premise is that one will take better care of what one loves. If we love nature – the non-human, living energies – we will be concerned with their well being. So far I’ve been offering second-hand experience, talking about nature from the cover of tin roofs, wood or cement walls and floors, in rooms with no windows. The youth group has been thinking and drawing, nature and its threats but not looking, feeling and hearing their voices. So we will dedicate a day to noesis.
We made origami paper parrots in an effort to symbolically return the birds back to nature. In Honduras, and especially in the valley where I am working, parrots are poached once a year to capture as pets or to sell. I myself can’t sell them the idea that this is a criminal offense, especially since there is no enforcement of these laws. But I’m hoping to change attitudes about how we take from nature but don’t give back.