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The Great Mother of Life
Kate Orff
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To Rachel Carson, the sea is “the great mother of life.” Her essay “Undersea” (1937) describes “the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting, bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait among the rocks.” It is critical for designers today to protest the “business as usual” practices of engineering and planning; they must advocate for spatial design in landscapes that foster the rejuvenation of both the teeming marine life “undersea” and cultural practices on shore.

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