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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA
by Peikwen Cheng


“Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” ―John Muir

I was born on Arbor Day (celebrated on March 12 in Greater China). While I love and thrive on the energy of cities, I feel most grounded when I am immersed and connected to nature.

There is a surreal tension at the intersection of the natural and man-made world. Every year three to six billion trees are cut down. Trees play an important role in our environment—absorbing carbon dioxide, reducing pollution, maintaining livable temperatures, and lowering stress. Nature nurtures. Researchers have discovered that more foliage results in fewer felonies; post-operative patients have shorter hospital stays when they have views of trees. How could the quality of our lives improve if we could experience a more grounded and meaningful relationship with nature?

Inspired by The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to “speak for the trees,” I have been documenting our SuperNatural relationship with natural and urban environments—from faux nature in gentrifying first-world neighborhoods to urbanizing developing countries—from uptown to underground—in a geographic survey across Asia, Europe, and North America.