Intro – Rae Ames

I’m Rae, I go by they/them pronouns and currently live on Puvunga land commonly known as Long Beach, California. I’m originally from upstate NY. I didn’t really have a clue what I was getting into when I started my ethnobotany journey. I was following someone on Twitter who consistently talked about sustainable design and I was highly interested in environmental psychology so I reached out to them and they introduced me to the OEC EBOT program. I’m a tech instructor enabling aging communities with the skills they require to integrate into the digital world which lead me into studying UX Design. While studying the principles of design I noticed the gaps it left for the unsupported. I could empathize with elder communities’ pain, navigating a world that has forgotten about them and their accessibility needs. I was already frustrated with the colonial capitalistic approach to design thinking and I was yearning for new perspectives that were aligned with the collective’s wellbeing. I had no desire to create products where the “users” were the laborers as we are in the attention economy with digital products. The time and attention we spend and pay are seen as currency. 

As I started this program I realized I desired even more than a design perspective but to reconnect to uncultivated cultural and ancestral knowledge. I grew up in a space where the past harbored deep trauma and most of our ancestral knowledge was never passed on. Now I’m here to learn and share the lost cultural philosophies, ways of thought, and the reciprocal relationship we use to hold with nature with my own community. I work best in a collaborating space. I’m not connected with plants as much as I’d love to be. For now, I enjoy making floral arrangements.

One comment

  1. Welcome Rae,
    I hope we can contribute to your quest for re-establishing a positive relationship with nature. I love making floral arrangements and bringing the garden ever closer to our living spaces. Here is one from our yard in Fairbanks Alaska. Maybe somebody can make out the different plants used in this floral arrangement. Looking forward to your posting of flora in California.

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