Frank is an avid reader, and he often passes along good books or interesting articles to the rest of us in the office. It’s a great perk to working here. Recently, he left an interesting article on my desk called “Spiritual Connectivity in the Realm of Sustainability,” by Margo Stipe. It was published in the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly (the Winter 2009 issue). Stipe does a wonderful job framing the issue of sustainability within the idea that humans need to reconnect with our natural environment and planet, “As we look for renewable resources to use in new strategies for all areas of sustainability, we need to let go of the tendency to commodify everything and make sure the new paradigms include that which will nourish the human spirit and reconnect us with the spirit and majesty of the planet we live on and the universe we live in.”
She cites Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, where he describes recent research on the benefits of being exposed to nature and the outdoors. We have all witnessed more and more open spaces disappearing. In addition, more and more adults and their children are content to stay inside, but the effect of these actions is alarming. Research shows that “alienation from nature results in diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness.”
Reading this article with an eye toward Glencoe underlines for me yet again what an extraordinary place Glencoe Mill is and will be in the future. Yes, Glencoe, situated as it is on the Haw River, affords opportunities to reconnect with nature, but it is also a place where many different interests and values intersect and overlap. When thinking about Glencoe Mill, we can talk about preservation, history, culture, art, music, nature, sustainability, environmentalism, science, community development, and education. These are the reasons so many of us have been drawn to Glencoe. Even so, Glencoe is a challenging rehabilitation project. Anyone who has done any rehabilitation work out there will, I’m sure, back me up on that! As Frank often reminds me though, it is the challenges that provide us with the best opportunities to be creative.