Nature Connection as Resistance

Marginalized communities have played a critical role in shaping the way we know the natural world today. Environmental discourse and practice has excluded marginalized communities from environmental protections, education, recreation, and connection. Outdoor education and culture has left their contributions, and voices out of educational documents leaving us with little representation for the empowerment of future generations. In addition, we often find that these communities are faced with poor environmental conditions as they are left behind (or targeted) in environmental policy.* As we expose these realities in an effort to reconnect marginalized communities to nature we find that our relationship to the natural world has been a paradigm of our greatest healing and our most painful experiences, yet returning to the land is our only way out of oppression.

Throughout history marginalized communities have held a relationship to the land that gave them both advanced knowledge and intimate connections with the systems and cycles of the Earth. There was an understanding of the interdependence between humans and nature, and within these communities was a foundational way of living that upheld this belief. There were no gender binaries or forced ways of expressing oneself, and community was at the core of everyday life.

During the expansion of european enlightenment and colonial conquest, our relationship to land began to change both by force and as a means of survival. As people of color and indigenous communities were removed from their homelands and forced to work the land their relationship to place within nature and themselves became deeply wounded. Wilderness represented a complex paradigm of both freedom and danger.** LGBTQ+ communities were also faced with a complex paradigm in relationship to land and place.

 

Prior to colonial expansion, LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit individuals were seen as an embodiment of both the masculine and feminine energies, and were held in high esteem by their communities. They often took on the roles of healers, teachers, guides, and shamans because of this. (In nature, there are many beings who also hold the ability to shift genders. Beings such as the Ash tree, and the Avocado).*** Yet during colonial era, LGBTQ+ individuals were seen as unnatural because they did not fit into the gender binaries of colonial culture, and they were sought to be eradicated.

Our deep ancestral wounds related to nature have also come with attacks on our basic human rights. As we are denied freedom and safety to be ourselves we are also forced into unhealthy environments, or unsafe experiences in relationship to nature. We find more comfort in urban spaces because of our close proximity to eachother, and the lack of rural. The industrial lifestyles that we fall into removes us from a intimate relationship with nature and as a result we lack access to natural ways of living and healing making us dependent on pharmaceuticals and processed foods. In this way we lack the efficacy to take care of ourselves and our community, and we blindly follow toxic current culture handed to us.

The Rusty Anvil is a platform to reshape our relationship to our urban lifestyles and reconnect to the land to heal, uplift ourselves, and build community. We will experience the healing of nature and heal deep ancestral wounds that have bound us in self-doubt and division, and we will learn how to show up for ourselves, our communities, and our more-than-human siblings.

I focus on nature connection as a means of self-discovery, healing, and resistance to oppression. I focus on building an awareness of our reactions to the spaces we find ourselves in. We look at the ways forces seek to keep us indoors and away from natural lifestyles. Through my work in mindfulness based nature connection I hold spaces that encourage a transformation of our relationship with nature from a resource to a partner. I focus on analyzing our place as humans and learning how we can become more aware of both the beings in the natural world around us, and the effects of our industrial lifestyles on our health.

Join me for a day on the land to experience the healing our more-than-human siblings have to offer, and the ways we can become more reciprocal in our relationship with them. Together we will re-member our place and find ways to move forward in community.

With your support, I can secure the gear I need to bring marginalized communities back to the natural world, and build a foundation of strength in the environmental field.

 

Become a monthly donor on Patreon, support me with a one time donation through Venmo, or attend one of my workshops and trips to get the full Rusty Anvil Experience.

patreon: patreon.com/therustyanvilimmersionexperiences

venmo: raei-TheRustyAnvil

*https://www.researchgate.net/publication

*https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1310/ML13109A339.pdf/233032174_Warren_County_NC_and_the_Emergence_of_the_Environmental_Justice_Movement_Unlikely_Coalitions_and_Shared_Meanings_in_Local_Collective_Action

**http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.562.5468&rep=rep1&type=pdf

***https://interlockingroots.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/perfect-flower-interlocking-roots-queer-botany-zine-20182.pdf

***https://interlockingroots.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/queer-botany-coloring.pdf

Reach Out And Connect

 

The Rusty Anvil LLC

The Berkshires of Massachusetts

 

Raei Bridges

Raei@the-rusty-anvil.land

(818) 741 6557

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Funding for the Forest Bathing immersion program was provided

by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. www.grassrootsfund.org