Elisabeth Nicula // interdisciplinary artist


What is the value of examining something carefully if not scientifically? Can those observations lead to something concrete? Can they facilitate a willingness to address frightening things straight on?

Climate scientists and some of the rest of us feel despair because of the vastness of our self-sabotage, the insufficiency of our attention, and the impossibility of stewarding the land and sea without seeing it.

Amidst diminishing supply, look closer or longer until you see. Look at a rock from all angles until it re-forms in your mind. Use a microscope to look at a cell, spare and utile. Walk to the top of a hill and see what's at your feet and what's in the distance. Look farther until you see. Use a telescope to look at the moon, so expansive it fills the lens. Relax your eyes until shapes clarify. Notice the products of all your senses and whether those products have value outside of your consumption. Document this. A mole-rat conducts her business in the dark.

By seeing something from every angle I come to understand its meaning. I work around the edge if it's too bold or alarming to take in all at once.

It's comforting and appropriate to be a small part of a boundless system. The system is a reminder that you exist. Reminders are good because people expect you to forget yourself.

The act of observation inserts a separation between the self and nature, protecting nature. Observation inserts nature between the self and the unknown, protecting the self.

I'm not embarrassed to love nature, wild animals, and plants. I love them as individuals and as ideals. There is no hierarchy of creatures. There is no hierarchy of rocks, water, air, and skin.

Listen to the earth speak about her lived experience.

Repeat this step until you hear and believe.

Repeat this step until you can act without causing harm.

It shouldn't be a privilege to spend time with nature but it is. The only place I've met a climate change denier face-to-face is Norfolk, Virginia, my beautiful sinking hometown. If I don't pay attention, how will I know when I'm underwater?

I thought a sense of place was the American way. Who makes war on the National Park Service? A monkey wrench turns and is itself turned. It is a tool that can be used for protection. Since time is infinitely divisible, it must be possible to experience something infinitely too. I know this is counterintuitive but it's a good coping mechanism. Think of the scales of time and space in the round, endless.

NATUREGIFMANIFESTO was originally published in 2017 in State Change: LRLX Publication 002.