Welcome to the inaugural Nature Narrations!
We are delighted that you have found yourself in this space and hope you will be moved by the ecologically-themed art and narrative here. The work we're currently featuring embraces themes like climate anxiety, the impermanence of mother nature, and climate/ecology design within experiential learning methods.
A recurrent thread in these pieces is the idea that humans are a part of the natural world - and in this spirit, we hope these pieces will allow for self-reflection and deeper consideration of the many different ways in which nature shapes all of the narratives in our lives. How can we create and work together to make the natural world a better place?
The blog will be updated intermittently; submissions are welcome. Please send your submissions or questions to:
Holly Martis McCarroll, Editor
note that rights in the creative products featured here remain the property of their respective authors -
please reach out to the authors directly before using any of their work.
Melting of Styx
She woke up sweating in the middle of the night, her eyes wide open, taking in the dark blankness of the ceiling. She recreated the nightmare in her waking world – piece by piece – putting it together to understand why she is frightened. But you already know. She heard the voice from deep inside her gut. The foreboding uneasiness of a coming calamity and the uncertainty of life. She remembered an online tarot reading she heard – being stuck in a nightmare and living it over and over again. This was her reality.
She was in a meadow, on a perfect day – the day which was mildly cold with warming sun glazing the skin and light breeze reverberating gently in the grass. She looked up at the white cotton clouds of her childish drawings and smiled. And then they turned – the clouds fused, and the cotton turned to a giant block of blinding white sharpness, like a block of hard salt or ice. She screamed with a searing pain hitting her eyes while a chunk of the white rockiness broke and began the accelerated descent to crush her.
She sat upright and drank cold water to jolt herself out of the underworld. She first learnt about climate anxiety while reading a book called Generation Dread. She had suffered from anxiety almost all her life – it was not one thing, but everything. After finishing the book, she quickly realized that climate anxiety had crept up on her sometime over the decades, intermingled with the existing worries lodged in her mind. She envied the characters in dystopian movies – even the ones who die early. How unidirectional are their lives – one or two or three or four problems in their lives – a bad marriage, a revolting boss, a dysfunctional family, a climate catastrophe – and then what? They run, they solve, they cry, they live, or they die. It ends – one way or the other. But her life – or anyone’s life – the living humans who have made right choices with wrong consequences; for them, the problems are an infinite spiral – one into the other – a never-ending stream of liquid metal burning right up to their core or the Earth’s. Look at the positive part – you slept more this past week than in the last several months. Her psychologist’s voice playing on an endless loop. She wanted it to end, but she did not want to die. She did not want her plants to die, or the flowers in the children’s park in her neighborhood. She did not want the screeching owls to die, or the ugly little raccoons scouring the trash cans. But the nightmare must end – one way or another.
She walked the Earth for several nights – in the agony of the coming future. Not hers - everyone’s.
She dreamt the dream every night – in anticipation of a different outcome.
She woke, she slept, she ate, she wept, she worked till no more work was left.
And one day, she could take no more.
The news came on at midnight – a comet discovered today changed her path after collision with space debris. She was coming in a matter of hours. They named her Styx, and she flowed like the river of woes. Her white slithering body melted in the blue planet, and humans gazed at the dazzle of a thousand star-lights. Lives ending, for lives to begin.
Samreen is a graduate student at the Sustainability Management program at Columbia, with a professional background in technology and finance. She is an enthusiastic reader with a preference for classics. However, at any given point of time, she has five unread/half-read books that she plans to finish soon. She loves to visit parks, forest trails, and rivers, and lately the streets of New York - all of these elements inspire her writing. To exchange ideas and insights about books, art, history, culture, or food, don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com
These instructional zines were produced alongside educational workshops led at Barnard College's Design Center in 2022-2023. These workshops were developed by Rebecca Naegele and collaborators, prioritizing sustainability, circularity, and ecology through experiential learning and design pedagogy.
Rebecca Naegele is an educator and artist invested in sustainable making practices, civic ecology, ecological design and spaces of community and practice. She teaches workshops and organizes programming at the intersection of sustainability and design at Barnard College's Design Center, an inclusive learning center and makerspace. Rebecca is also a part-time faculty member in the MFA in Design & Technology program at Parsons, The New School. Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Elena Viteri Fernandez
There is a goodbye hour. Mother Nature stretches the last golden rays of sunlight, bending its light into every surface to brush us one more time. Do you stop to say thank you or even appreciate it?
Pictures: Film (35mm) ~ Location: Ecuador
My name is Andrea Viteri Fernandez. I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Growing up in close contact with nature intrinsically influenced my view of life, which I describe as sensible and melancholic. I started to take photos as a form of expression and introspection. I am drawn to capturing light interaction with our surroundings, especially how it interacts with different surfaces. My photos often focus on genuine human actions and how we behave when nobody is watching us. I believe these unique moments show a glance at our profound thoughts that simultaneously reflect the world around us.
personal email: email@example.com