Day 1 Lockdown, COVID finally in regional NSW
We start lockdown before dawn under a flaming sky, lucky to live here.
walking down onto the beach we hear the calls
and see four Sooty Oystercatchers leave
our line of sight, the tide is coming in
Wyn and I alone together both taking photographs
hear then watch a pair of Pied Oystercatchers pass north,
an Osprey leisurely patrols the beach.
The Striated Heron is hunched on his rocky outcrop,
a Great Egret white marks the river’s elbow,
Galahs then Fig Birds drop into a dead tree.
‘Plenty of fish in the sea’, my mother used to say,
I only want one.
‘Before man had started to distance himself from nature, there was no room for natural beauty. In western history, men begin to experience the beauty of nature only when nature had been subdued.’ Camille Flodin [i]
Now we are destroying nature, we have to make the most of its beauty, for our own wellness and for that of environment. The photograph of a misty morning at Rock Island Bend on the Franlin taken by Peter Dombrovskis helped save the river from being dammed planned by the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission. As the Editor of the Tasmanian Times put it, quoting Richard Flanagan, ‘Images of pure beauty ripped the cataracts from our eyes.’[ii]
A cross cultural study has looked at whether nature connectedness mediates the relationship between engagement with natural beauty (i.e., the tendency to notice and be moved by beauty in nature) and well-being in three different cultures. They suggest that engaging with natural beauty improves well-being. [iii]
This small jar was sat among the rockpools. The Australian beauty and personal care products market was valued at over A$ 5 billion in 2020. It is estimated that Australian spend more than A$13 billion per year on their pets.
Collating disparate published budget figures of Australian governments, show that annual spending on targeted threatened species recovery is around AU$122, about 15% of what is needed to avoid extinctions and recover threatened species.[iv]
And in this time of pandemic fears and lockdown we need natural beauty more than ever.
When we get home King Parrots are waiting for us as if expecting to be fed.
[i] Quoted by Marah Nagelhout, ‘Nature and the “Industry that Scorched It”: Adorno and Anthropocene Aesthetics’, Symploke, Vol 24. 1-2, 2016.
[ii] https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2009/10 October 20, 2009.
[iii] Colin Capaldi et al., ‘Engaging with Natural Beauty May Be Related to Well-Being Because It Connects People to Nature: Evidence from Three Cultures’, Ecopsychology 9(4), Sept 2017.
[iv] Brendan A. Wintle et al., ‘Spending to save: What will it cost to halt Australia’s extinction crisis?’, Conservation Letters, October 2019.