“All of our values are expressed through Nature, and then Nature teaches us how to behave.”
— Herb Nabigon, Anishinaabe healer & author of The Hollow Tree
“If the eye were not sun-like, how could we ever see light? And if God’s power did not dwell within us, how could we delight in things divine.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Preface to his Scientific Studies
The Goethe-Institut Toronto has invited Prof. Tim Leduc, associate professor in land-based social work at Wilfrid Laurier University, and elder Gae Ho Hwako Norma Jacobs to open their new Goethe Air Space in downtown Toronto. Designed along biophilic concepts to facilitate explorations between the natural, cultural and digital realms we inhabit, the Goethe-Institut’s new green plant wall will guide this workshop series into reflections on the interrelation between cultures, trees, climate and an ethic of care. An exchange with respondents from Germany will connect insights from Canada and Europe.
This three-part conversation ‘Cultures, Climate & Care’ is concerned with the interwoven pattern between the quality of how we live and how the world responds to us. While the opening quotes by Nabigon and Goethe point to the potential of culturally fostering mutually beneficial relations with nature, we are experiencing the destructive potential of uprooted ways of living. In Europe, record wildfires and floods have raged, while in Germany a coalition of activists protects the Hambach Forest and confronts climate injustice. On Turtle Island (North America), forest fires brought a smoggy haze to large swaths of the continent, while Indigenous Land Back and anti-pipeline protests call for resistance and renewal. Arising with these calls has been an awareness of how systemic racial injustices haunt us with ongoing colonial abuses against Indigenous and Black peoples, women of colour, their children and the Earth.