What positive impact can we have on the micro environments in our neighborhoods?
Walking through the Okayama Gardens last week I turned a corner and the above scene unfolded: 6 individuals carefully pruning, sculpting and caring for an aged tree in direct relation to the rest of the park. What stood out within this scene, was the interaction between the caretakers and how methodically they were guiding the direction of the tree's growth.
For me, the way they communicated, carefully considering the symmetry of the branches, and quietly raking in the clippings was in complete contrast to the sound blasting weed whackers and leaf blowers seen here every day in LA.
Taking care of our local environment is more than "gardening". I believe it's about engaging with our community and using nature as the bridge that connects. We can see this in our urban gardens; from balconies to rooftops, to a small triangle of space at an intersection in Chicago, where my 83 year old mother takes great pride in showing how her group of friends keeps it alive on their own dime and time, year over year.
Cities do this on a larger scale: LA residents, which occupy a healthy portion of the world's concrete jungles, live alongside numerous parks designed to compliment the harshness of this concrete, look at the LA River as an example.
This is less about global warming and more about the warmth we feel when we are in touch with nature. By taking a step back to observe what can be done when a group comes together to take care of their local environment, we simply connect.
So why is the green in our grey urban environments so important? I'll close with this picture from a garden in Hiroshima 70 years after its devastation as a city:
Jamie is the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at email@example.com & via twitter @jdouraghy