…There’s starting to be a sense now that there’s a moral issue about degradation of the environment, that there is something here that’s larger than us, something that’s given birth to all life forms and sustains us. And if we degrade that, it’s to the degradation of future generations. So there’s an inter-generational ethic here. And there’s a new emerging ethic of responsibility to people in other parts of the world who are suffering from our actions with things like climate change, which is affecting people along coastal waters.So where is the moral force going to come from for inter-generational ethics or ethical responsibility for people in other parts of the world? It’s going to come from longer-range thinking, and that’s what the religions can contribute.
Yes, we live in the Anthropocene — but that does not mean we inhabit an ecological hell. Our management and care of natural places and the millions of other species with which we share the planet could and should be improved.
…away from the crowds and noise is an unexpected sanctuary: a 26-kilometer, century-old defunct railway connecting Singapore to Malaysia, which environmental groups dream of turning into Singapore’s own version of New York’s High Line, the former elevated rail line that was converted into a trendy urban nature walk through Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighborhoods.
Singapore is positioning to be “A city in the Garden”. Julia and I were there briefly, years ago, moving quickly in the blazing heat in search of shadows at midday. The Japanese and Chinese Gardens in the city center are memorable as are the traveller’s palms, sentries in front of the old Raffles Hotel.
While their creations might seem out of place here, they match the ideals of Thoreau, said Alexander Gorlin, an architect whose book with the photographer Geoffrey Gross, “Tomorrow’s Houses: New England Modernism,” came out this year.
Mr. Gorlin said the plain, functional style of modernism, meant to blend into the landscape, echoed Thoreau’s desire to live simply and in harmony with nature. Gropius, he added, was inspired by another early New England thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Is either contemporary or traditional architecture inherently more suitable for rural landscape?
A full moon rising over Osgood Pond near Paul Smiths, N.Y. More Photos »
Mr. Jenkins, who is the author of the book “Climate Change in the Adirondacks: The Path to Sustainability,” spends much of his time on the water and in the woods, documenting the ecosystem with a notebook and a camera. He thus brings an unusual perspective to the scene. Where a casual observer might behold diversity and continuity, he projects decades into the future and finds absence and loss.