Reflection on “Urban Ecological Citizenship”

1 a) My favorite parks are the parks Fairmount Park system and along the Schuylkill. Outside of the city, I really like going to Longwood Gardens near Kennett Square. Besides those places, my absolute favorite place to connect with nature is my backyard. My house is located in a suburban/wooded area and has lots of wildlife. Also in my backyard are my garden and my mother’s flower garden. I enjoy going to these places because they offer an escape from the fast paced world.

I love to go to a beach to see the beauty of nature. I like beach resorts that are crowed with tourists and sometimes more desolate beaches that line the east coast. I love hearing the sound of the waves as well as the peaceful nature of the entire environment of land and sea together.

I like to go to Washington Square Park in the city. I can bike there on a good day and relax in a little green space in the city. I like to watch people in the park and have conversations with my friends. It’s a little place where I find some serenity in the city.

1 b) Philadelphia area: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Backyard is maintained by my mother and me!

Ricketts Glen State Park is maintained by the PA State Parks system and Longwood is maintained privately and has an admissions fee.

Many of these beaches are cared for by a Beach Patrol service. They help to keep the beach in good condition for those who would like to use it.

2) My motivation to care for nature comes from a love of nature as a young child. I think the Philadelphia parks system is well maintained but might get more use if they had more activities and things for children. If people felt more connected to their surrounding space, they may be more inclined to keep it clean/be respectful. No one wants to see his or her hard work destroyed. The parks are retreats for every citizen to get away from the concrete jungle. When I do go to a park I would like to see it clean and feel as if I am close to nature. I would not want to see litter or anything else to defame the area.  If everyone can utilize the place, everyone should have the responsibility to maintain it.

3) On this question our answers are split in half. But first of all, we establish that Andrew Light’s ideal ecological citizenship consist of an “ethical citizenship where citizenship is a virtue met by active participation at some level of public affairs.” We live in an urban setting where every citizen lives in close proximity. Everything we do affect one another.

Two of us think every citizen has responsibility to maintain the environment that we share. We all deserve to have access to the natural world even in an urban environment. If everyone can utilize the place, everyone should have the responsibility to maintain it.  One of us thinks that rights and responsibility should not be given more to the public because most of the citizens do not care about the environment and are apathetic towards preserving it. If rights and responsibility is given more to the public, our space will get dirtier instead of cleaner.

4) We agree with Light’s suggestions for hands on ecological citizenship.

Community service makes people feel like they are part of something greater than themselves. Also, when we contribute to a community project or something we are proud of, we will want to preserve and protect it. In order for people to care about the environment, they need to experience first hand what it takes to keep a natural environment running. Just like Light said, “If someone is in a normative and participatory relationship with the land around then he or she is less likely to allow it to be harmed further.”

5) We believe that waterways and parks bind community together because:

Parks and waterways can be accessed by all with no (or little) fees, which always serve as an incentive for participation.

Parks engage young children and give them a safe place to play, if maintained and kept clean.

Community ecological restoration project, like the one Light mentioned (Bronx River Alliance) helps create a common interest among citizens thus strengthen the bonding effect.

 

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