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“Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners,” says Iago, admittedly one of Shakespeare’s more impulsive villains. But maybe that’s why he knows better than others that, if it weren’t for our willpower’s guidance, emotions and the “baseness of our natures” would lead us to the “most prepost’rous conclusions.” We use our will for self-control, to make decisions and improve.
Since she was 3 years old, Amelia has exhibited an extraordinary connection to nature. Her mother, Robin Schwartz, has photographed the candid moments and compiled them in a book called Amelia and the Animals. Schwartz writes about the natural manner that her daughter displays around animals showing “enormous fortitude and ingenuity in relating to each individual animal with kindness and respect,” which instills a calming effect in each animal.
Her mother began to recognize Amelia’s deep bond with animals at 3 years old, when she noticed that their two Cornish Rex Cats would always fight to sit on Amelia’s lap and would often become jealous and territorial for the attention of their prized companion. At a young age she was strong and brave, never viewing her encounters as strange or unusual. Until recently, she took these opportunities for granted. “She didn’t realize how unusual her encounters were until everyone started to tell her how lucky she was to meet so many animals” writes her mother.
She’s getting older now and plans on one day becoming a primatologist who researches gibbons. In an interview with the New Yorker, a ten-year-old Amelia says, “I am an animal person. I cannot survive without animals, this is who I have always been.”
The line between human and animal is often unclear. What is it that entitles humans to separate ourselves from our surroundings? Through the innocence of this child, we are shown that animals are not only meant to coexist with humans, but perhaps to interact as equal partners.
Iceland is a vast landscape of fjords, glaciers, lava fields, and beauty as far as the eye can see. Picture a country where schools still insist on teaching their students the ancient sagas. It’s a place full of healthy, active citizens and where the scale of income inequality has near balanced arms.
The country of Iceland, a volcanic gem of farmland and wilderness, is nothing short of peaceful. Consider this— according to the Global Study on Homicide (UN), there was just one reported case of homicide in Iceland in 2012, with 14,827 cases of homicide in the United States that same year.
There is a sustainable material that could be used to build houses that has the compressive force of concrete, the strength-to-weight ratio of steel, could be produced quickly, and lasts a lifetime. It’s not some sort of advanced artificial substance, but a natural resource that’s been used for centuries—bamboo.
According to Treehugger, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet and serves as an effective carbon sequestration channel. This means that it can take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert the carbon into plant material, allowing it to last for the same amount of time as wood or perhaps even longer. However, because it is a wild grass, it is round, hollow and tapered, making it an unfavourable material to work with and therefore not used for conventional homes. Elora Hardy is aiming to change that.