This edition of HoodHealth will show you how to find nature in the urban community
Original People in the past, even when they moved into the phase of building cities, worked to harmonize the city landscape with nature. The city of Great Zimbabwe was built in imitation of termite hills, which facilitated a natural form of air conditioning. The Aztecs had floating gardens around the periphery of their cities. Nature wasn’t something seen as the enemy to the majority of Original Cultures worldwide. With Europe though this was different. There was a great fear of the darkness and forest. You can find this fear of the darkness and forest in every fairytale. European architecture is notorious for having locks on gates, with doors and windows for every portal. The European settlers brought this fear with them to their New World. That is why when they came here one of the first things that they started doing was clearing (destroying) the wilderness. Yet the rate at which white settlers were coming to their New World was faster than they were clearing the wilderness. This caused the problem of overcrowding on the east coast.
Now, even though Europeans were afraid of the dark, they were also a hyper-individualistic people. They wanted some space to their selves. It was getting so bad that people started to gather in the cemeteries at night to “get away”. It was this crisis that led to the creation of the first public parks in North America. These islands of the wilderness worked to create havens of escape into nature for the European population. In time though “progress” came along and they had to start letting Black and Brown people use these public spaces. The next event that happened was white flight where hoards of whites left the city to flee to the burbs where they created hiking programs, camping and swimming areas.
If you have grown up in the inner city, then you know that getting some nature is something that you have to exert effort to experience. Experiencing nature though is a wholistic healthy experience which serves to relax, recharge and renew one’s mental and physical. The ghetto is the architecture of oppression. It is not just the lack of services and the presence of poverty. The sheer structure of streets and buildings in the ghetto work to close one in, deny them of light, limit exposure to nature and bear heavy on the brain. So it is something that is needed, yet when you live in the inner city, your options are limited…yet there are some options.
Take a long trip on the bus. Set aside a day to just ride the bus in its entire circuit. Many buses go far out into places that are a little more rural. This is usually the rule no matter what bus you are riding. You start to see how “small” the urban bubble really is.
Go to the beach. Yes, some beaches are notoriously filthy and you can’t swim in them yet sea air is good air. It clears out a lot of the pollutants that many are exposed to in the inner city. You get to breath a little deeper and waves are just kind of hypnotic.
Find the greenhouses in the city. There are always some official greenhouses that you can visit in your city. You’re going to have to do a little digging, yet they do exist. Some of these places are privately owned while others are owned by public groups. Both types usually want to show off all of their hard work.
Go to the park. Mos of us only go to the parks on July 4th. Get a gang of people together and just go to the park on a day during the week or on the weekend. Many parks have been taken over by crimminal elements yet this is only due to the fact that a large segment of the public hasn’t found a use for the park. Find the use for your park and put it into effect.
Get some plants. House plants can improve the quality of air. They actually can remove pollutants from the airs.
If you are creative and innovative you can get some more rays from the sun and greenery in your life. Make it a priority.
C’BS ALife Allah is the co-editor of the Hood Health Handbook and co-creator of the HoodHealth concept. Check him out at ALifeAllah.com and follow him on twitter @alifeallahor IG @Alifeallah