Visual #1: Things that consists of my eco-identity.
(L: Puzzle that I made R: Original Picture of the puzzle)
Visual #2: This (L) is a puzzle I made, with a picture of a mixture of two flags (South Korea & Canada), as I view these two countries as my home. I intentionally put the pieces incompletely, because I think I am still on my way to find my identity.
When I was exposed to the idea of ‘eco-identity’, it was hard for me to understand the concept itself. I used to think of myself as a person who does not have many connections with the environment, or even if I have a connection, it would not be a very strong one. When I think of the word ‘environment’, I immediately imagine a place somewhere far from me, with greens, clean water and air, where birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and little animals are freely jumping around – as I briefly described in my ecoliteracy poem. However, I think that the reason why I may lack of the connection with environment is because I spent my entire life in a big city where everything is completely opposite, while rarely interacting with what I think of as environment. I was surrounded by tall, huge buildings everyday – even my house is on 16th floor, and usually spent my childhood by hanging out ‘in’ the house with friends. For me, the vividest memory of interacting with environment is when I go out for a walk at the Shincheon river besides my home, in order to relieve my stress or just simply enjoy being alone while listening to the music. Until I came here in Canada, I didn’t know my childhood was a bit too plain, and perhaps sad.
If I ask my friends who I met here in Canada how their childhoods were like, they would share various kinds of stories. All is different, however I could tell one common theme: being outside. Some would share a story when they spent summer in their family cabin, some would share a story about fishing that they used to go with their parents, or skiing story, snowboarding story, even a story of gardening their yards. To me, it is fascinating and very interesting to listen because it is so different than my childhood. Also, it allowed me to imagine how people would communicate with nature in their leisure time, and enabled me to understand how building relationship with environment is important for them in their lives.
While thinking about the each story of childhood that I have gathered from my friends, I found another common theme: all is Euro-centered. By putting the pieces of different stories together in one set, I realized that this whole set is representing the environment through throughly a Western way that hides the idea of environment, or perhaps the land, from Indigenous perspectives. Then, I felt it is not an appropriate way to “facilitate intellectual and emotional connections with places, communities of life, people and events” (Curthoy, Cuthbertson, & Clark, 2012, p. 174) because viewing a piece of land by “favoring Eurocentric history over Indigenous history” (Curthoy, Cuthbertson, & Clark, 2012, p. 175) is a dangerous approach, especially considering that this place, Canada, is a colonized land by European settlers. As such, I believe that although storytelling is a definitely efficient method to disrupt the traditional way of teaching and learning, it should be done with a combination of multiple different perspectives in order to “minimize … misunderstandings” (Curthoy, Cuthbertson, & Clark, 2012, p. 175), while recognizing the true history of Canada.
Curthoys, L., Cuthburtson, B., & Clark, J. (2012). Community Story Circles: An opportunity to rethink the epistemological approach to heritage interpretive planning. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 173-187.