I paraphrase from a piece of writing I had done in autumn 2019.
London is a city of continuous growth. Every year its concrete skin bubbles and expands with complete disregard for the earth that has always laid under it.
There has been an absolute destruction of all natural animal habits and only small pockets of designed greenery remain scattered throughout the maze of streets and high rise buildings, existing for human enjoyment but coincidentally providing shelter for our most common of refugees. Animals.
Humans are equally squished and scattered, living at times hundreds of feet above the ground in small, cell like apartments. These living spaces are repeated and uniform, mimicking the structure of our microscopic mechanisms, but they are widely separate from most natural cycles.
Millions of us humans live TOGETHER in this separated way and yet at times, community can feel like an idea or a superficial reality, rather than the network of vital support that individuals could provide one another. Neighbours rarely chat and they certainly wouldn’t lend Andre 3000 any sugar.
When I wrote this text, I had just settled back into my London home after a summer abroad working as part of a permaculture commune. During that summer I had lived more consciously and sustainably than ever before, and this had left me feeling deeply connected with the land I had lived on. It had provided for me, and I for it. This experience has made it all the more clear to me how separate us city humans are from our environment.
Through environmental affection I have rejigged my relationship with my urban environment, connecting me with my city through resource gathering and connecting me with the people around me through shared experiences.
Focusing on London’s abundance of free waste resources and the needs of the community within my apartment building, I have experimented with sustainable living techniques, resulting in a community kitchen space created from found materials. This community space provides experience of sustainable cooking techniques and allows folks to come and go as they please, allowing pressure free interactions and connection.
At the heart of the space, is a pizza oven. Made from 99% reclaimed waste, burning with almost no smoke and churning out a stonebaked pizza in just two minutes, this tool has given me and my community the power to come together and share something unique and delicious, in a way that is conscious of our environment. A rare treat for us living in this big, dirty and beautiful city.