Sunday, November 8, 2009

Guerrilla Gardening

It's a phenomenon that has been going on across the world for quite some time now, though I don't really understand the violence implied by its name. Though technically illegal, because not officially sanctioned by the government owning the public land, guerilla gardening does not seek to inflict harm, but only to add a little beauty to the world.

Hobby gardeners go out at night to avoid sanction or detection by the authorities, and turn wasted earth into green gathering spaces, little pockets of foliage in otherwise neglected city and suburban areas with their own hard work and money. These devotees to the environment turn roadsides, vacant lots, and wasteland into gardens.

It has become so common recently Vogue even featured a blurb on it this month, making it officially a green "trend," though the publication does not condone vandalism or illegal activity. Guerilla gardening has been happening in NYC since the 70's when tenements on the LES began to be peppered with gardens, and has also popped up in run down neighborhoods of London's Bonnington Square.

It is grouped in the same category as graffiti by the law. Individuals with no legal right to change the surface of the land imprint it with their artistic message. Though plants are less permanent than spray paint, law enforcement agencies see it as similar legal territory, even labeling the behavior terrorist in some instances.

I applaud these people who are willing to risk their own well being to make the world a more beautiful place, and who understand what a difference a little greenery can make to an urban landscape.

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