Above: a comment shared on twitter by Irish architect Helena Fitzgerald 3/5/2020. Image from within Hollywood forest, looking out to the wider world – from The Hollywood Forest blog by Cathy Fitzgerald.
‘uplifting and insightful writing, and images to delight the eye’ –
‘Getting Out into Nature with a Good Blog’, Paddy Woodworth, The Irish Times, 3 May 2020
I was honoured that my ‘Hollywood Forest Story’ was one of several eco-blogs featured in 🇮🇪 The Irish Times today!
I was also delighted to be in the company of others’ important work in this article – those who have long sought to raise appreciation and awareness for the wonder and plight of the living world. US author David George Haskell’s Song of the Trees (2017) is a favourite book of mine (the last book my late mother gifted to me) and I much admire Director of the Irish Biodiversity centre, Liam Lysaght’s unfailing energy to share the wonders of Irish biodiversity through social media. I’m looking forward to following others mentioned in this article too.
Confined as we are now under unsettling, shelter-at-home orders, writer and Irish Times journalist Paddy Woodworth chose to reflect how bloggers’ longer, multi-media articles help deepen our appreciation of life around us. In this great global pause, many of us are noticing and are more grateful for nature’s unceasing life-giving generosity – the birdsong, the freshness of trees, and those startlingly quiet, unmarked skies. The blogs listed in Paddy’s article take us deeper into understanding and knowing our wonderful world.
And aren’t we remembering something else too? If we look deeply at the living world now, if we can forgo the noise of 24h-news cycles, we can re-acquaint ourselves with what is fundamental for wellbeing. We are sensing and realising more, that our wellbeing is interwoven with planetary wellbeing. How could we have forgotten this essential knowing of how to live well with life? There is a crisis deep in the heart of the dominant culture, and I daresay our education, when our living has become so untethered from wellbeing. Lets hope this pause will invite more of us to learn what constitutes a healthy planet and healthy living, post-pandemic.
The Hollywood Forest Story blog
My blog tells my account from 2008 onwards, of my and my husband Martin Lyttle’s work to transform the monoculture tree plantation we live with, into a forest (and my work to help reimagine national Irish forest policy along the way). My blogging is also integral to my ongoing eco-social art practice too ( I argued in my doctoral research that blogs are a fantastic mechanism to share ecological arts practices that do not fit within short-term gallery programming). In my research, I highlighted the significant award-winning work of Australian Dr Lucas Ihlein, who details why blogs have a critical function for eco-social art practice and audience engagement for these urgent times.
Blogging is a craft, a creative ecology of practices for me. Walking in amongst the trees that form Hollywood forest, a neverending stream of inspiration bubbles up to fill my posts. Blogging has been my means to gain and share my ecoliteracy and then my unexpected agency for trying to change national forest policy, to act forests’ wellbeing here and elsewhere. Being all of 2 and a half proud acres, is why my followers know Hollywood forest as ‘the little wood that could!’
And a blog’s hyperlinked form mirrors the interconnected, interwovenness of life – its obvious to me – blogs are ideal media for promoting an ecological sense-ability, and hopefully store ecological good sense for others.
My grateful thanks to Paddy and everyone who shares the Irish ‘story of the little wood that could!
Visit my blog here (click on the image)
Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts with Cathy Fitzgerald PhD
Hello! Kia Ora! My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.
“I’m passionate about bringing ecoliteracy to the art sector. Creatives, if informed with basic ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge), can ‘translate’ the science relevant to their diverse urban and rural communities and audiences. Research confirms ecoliterate art professionals, with their skills in inclusivity and creativity, will have a critical leadership role to inspire diverse communities across the world, to envision the more beautiful, just and better world we know is possible.
And supporting ecoliteracy in the arts is an urgent task, given that the pandemic is seen as another symptom of the wider and accelerating ecological emergency.