From the “Naiads of the New World” series.
The classically educated Europeans who mapped the New World were likely familiar with the river nymphs of Greek mythology. My naiads mark the passage from millennia of “uncharted territory” to the eradication of indigenous cultures, and extensive environmental changes, that began during European exploration and settlement of the New World. Their bodies passively incorporate waterways renamed by each group of colonizing peoples.
What are the current stories we tell about the living landscape? Whose stories are “real”? How is an ecosystem different from something viewed as a “natural resource”?
The capitalist story of eminent domain, private property ownership, the rights of corporate entities to privatize, extract and destroy the commons (land, air, water, soil, plants, animals) has led to massive disruptions in the health and sustainability of the entire ecological systems, including planetary climate.
Taking direct physical action to change the pace and trajectory of toxic emissions into the commons is extremely urgent. But it may be equally urgent to create new stories and mindsets that support restoration, sustainability, and justice for all living creatures on this earth.
The entire series of naiads can be viewed on Suzette Marie Martin's website.