About Wales: Cultural Ecology Map 1

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Windows into resilience

The resilience of long established cultures which are the outcomes of regular flows of ecosystem services into a human ecological niche is expressed in ‘pride of place’ and ‘oneness with nature’. When culture and ecoloogy thrive together in an age-old predictable way, words and pictures are produced to communicate the artful unity of all life in its beauty. Conversely, a lack of landscape resilience can generate nilistic art forms. In this connection, the major theme of Wales’ pre-eminant modern poet, Dylan Thomas, was the unity of all life; the continuing process of life and death and new life that linked the generations. Thomas saw biology as a magical transformation producing unity out of diversity, and in his poetry he sought a poetic ritual to celebrate this unity. He saw men and women locked in cycles of growth, love, procreation, new growth, death, and new life again. Therefore, in his poems each image engenders its opposite.

His poem, "This Bread I Break" is seen as an ecological poem where creation is a counterpoint to destruction. If we combine the sense we gain from its noun clusters with the additional information we glean from the adjectives, we can easily see why many readers interpret this poem as an exploration of the irony that all human creation depends on nature's destruction. Another view is that it represents humanity’s unthinking widespread destruction of its ecosystem services.

THIS BREAD I BREAK

This bread I break was once the oat,

This wine upon a foreign tree

Plunged in its fruit;

Man in the day or wind at night

Laid the crops low, broke the grape's joy.

Once in this wine the summer blood

Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine,

Once in this bread

The oat was merry in the wind;

Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.

This flesh you break, this blood you let

Make desolation in the vein,

Were oat and grape

Born of the sensual root and sap;

My wine you drink, my bread you snap.

We suspect that Thomas also opened up a third theme of creation which relates to the Christian story of the Last Supper; specifically a story about the creation and destruction of one individual.

Mapping resilience through landscapes

To make a resilient culture, plants, nature, horticulture and farming have to be put on an equal footing with art and architecture. ‘Place’ becomes a human niche where art is grown. Arts and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity - the unique meaning, value, and character - of the physical and social form of a community. This identity is reflected through the community's character or sense of place. A community's sense of place is not a static concept; rather, it evolves and develops over time, reflecting the spectrum of social values within and around the community. Plants themselves are part of the art of resilience which is growing and changing every day. In this way, the community character of a city, county, town, or neighborhood can be seen as a story or narrative of a place. Planners and community members can come together to reveal and burnish this narrative through:

· an articulation of the historic, cultural, economic, and cultural context of the community;

· a commitment to the reinforcement and enhancement of the community's identity;

· the implementation of policies, regulations, and incentives that support and enhance this evolving identity.

The map is being managed by Resilience-Wales http://www.resilience-wales.wikispaces.com

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Team members: 1
Resilience Wales
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