Going to work in a tree house could be a reality for East London workers. Groundwork, a London-based charity organization, has just opened a new installation, TREExOFFICE, in Hackney’s Hoxton Square. The installation is a pop-up office pod, built around one of the park’s trees, and constructed of compressed paper, translucent plastic, and polycarbonate. Greenery is visible through the office’s transparent walls, and the pod is filled with natural light.
Groundwork has three main goals – improve open green spaces for public use, educate people and businesses to become more environmentally responsible, and help those furthest from the job market obtain education and jobs. The office pod in Hoxton Square is part of Groundwork’s larger initiative, Park Hack, which seeks to create better and more sustainable parks throughout London. Groundwork’s description of the project states, “London’s newest and most unique office space enables those who work here to both connect with and give back to nature.”
TREExOFFICE and Park Hack, while aimed at busy urbanites with office jobs, rightly connect care of humanity and care for nature. Wendell Berry, poet and environmental activist, writes, “the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility.” Wendell Berry and Park Hack remind us that caring for nature is a joy, not merely a way of caring for an abstract future or places we will never visit–our very humanity and nature’s well being are inextricably interwoven.