Tagged: Natural Environment

How natural is the natural environment? Post 4: Walking to Ken Ausburn Lookout

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Considering that my previous two walks had encountered many man made structures I decided to intervene.

The destination for my third walk was the Ken Ausburn Lookout on Mt Keira.

To document where I went, I once again choose my trusty Strava App.

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Before my walk I thought how my previous two destinations were man made objects, then it clicked. By choosing a man-made object to walk to, my chances of encountering man-made obstacles were going to be higher.

I was hoping that by choosing a more natural destination I would be exposed to a more natural environment.

To some extent my walk was very natural, I got to walk on a mountain side surrounded by trees and the sound of animals. But at the same time I still felt like the experience was affected by humans.

Once I had made it to the base of the mountain and the start of the walking trail, man-made objects were everywhere. Even though I was walking up a mountain I found myself walking next to a concrete path that followed the contours of the landscape. Once the concrete path had finally finished I was expecting a nice natural bush walk, but instead I was met by hundreds of pieces of timber nailed, screwed and glued together to make a staircase.

Even once the staircase ended, planks of wood had been placed all over the mountain side to stop erosion. In the end I managed to make it to the lookout and it was beautiful, definately worth the short hike.

But no matter how beautiful the journey was, I was still unable to make it the whole way without walking on a man-made object.

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Overall, I took 1733 steps, 62 of which were on a concrete surface.

Considering that I tried to choose the most natural landmark in the area, I find it quite sad that no matter how hard you try and avoid human interaction whether it be via the physical presence of a human or a wooden staircase, you can’t escape it.

With Mt Keria being transformed by all these man-made objects, it was at this point that I realised that is was engaging in the notion of the artist as. Through my walks I had developed a passion and new appreciation for the ‘natural environment’.

My walks were developing a new purpose, one where I would document my findings and diseminate them in a form of activism.

My passive documentation methods were a good start to recognise what was going on around me, but now that I had found a problem that needed to be heard by the masses, I found myself talking to my housemates about how much of our ‘natural environment’ had been destroyed.

Although the severity of human impact is serious and upsetting, documenting the walk itself with my GoPro was very fun and enjoyable.

I was going to do a running commentary throughout the walk, but I was struggling to walk up the mountain as it was.

How natural is the natural environment? Part 2: Walking to International House

For my first walk, I decided to walk to International House student accommodation.

I had two reasons for choosing this location;

  1. I use to live there during my first year of University
  2. A lot of people use to say how relaxing and natural the walk was to and from uni was when I was living there

    To help document this walk to see if I could get to International House by only using the ‘natural environment’, I used my mobile phone to take pictures and to track where I walked.

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    To track where exactly I used an IPhone App called Strava. This App was fantastic to use, not only did it show where I was walking, it also was able to tell me how far I walked and how long it took me.

    Before I started my first walk I assumed that I was going to have to walk on a man made structure between 5-10 times. I know there is a lot of roads and footpaths around, but I believed that if I structured a derive around my gut feeling and following where there was lots of grass, I would be able to get to my destination without encountering a lot of obstacles.

    Although I had a lot of faith at the start of the walk, the harsh reality soon became very evident. By the time I had reached the halfway point, I had already stepped on a road or footpath at least 20 times.

    By the time I had reached my final destination, I had encountered roughly 50 obstacles. To be honest I was very surprised that the number was this high. I understand that the area is densely populated and a high traffic area, but 50 obstacles is a lot, especially when your main goal is to avoid them.

    Throughout the walk my main two obstacles were having to cross roads and facing driveways that were to long to jump over.

    Hopefully this video will help to show the many obstacles I encountered when trying to travel via the ‘natural environment’.

How natural is the natural environment? Post 1: Introduction

Walking

For millions of years the earth in which we live was a natural wonderland, trees covered the mountain-side and animals wandered the vast landscape.

Now days, earth is very much a different place and the ‘natural environment’ is anything but natural.

As a collective, humans have made major changes that are seemingly irraversable, and there is no denial that the ‘natural environment’ is being destroyed more and more each day.

In order to find out exactly how little remains of our ‘natural environment’, I plan on following one rule.

I am only allowed to walk on the ‘natural environment’ to get to my destinations, e.g. grass, dirt, rocks.

By following this rule, I feel as though I will be able to get a good idea of how humans have effected the ‘natural environment’.

The way in which I will carry out the process and documentation is…

  • Pick a number of locations around the Wollongong area
  • Start at my house and walk to these location
  • Document how many man-made structures/obstacles I encounter on my walk/s
  • Any time I have to walk on concrete, roads, footpaths or any other structure that has been made or placed by humans, it will count as obstacle

This strategy has been developed from two key areas;

  1. My personal interest on how the ‘natural environment’ is constantly being transformed
  2. The walk we went on with the Waterways of The Illawarra (WOTI) group

By combining my personal interest with the structure of how the WOTI group carried out their walk, I want to see if it is possible to get from one place to another by only walking on the ‘natural environment’.

To make sure I get a good feel for the impact humans have made, I will conduct four walks that lead in four different directions. By repeating/iterating the process of walking around different areas and analysing the ‘natural environment’, I will be able to understand the relationship between social intersections, human activity and the ‘natural environment’.