Guest post by Brigit Strawbridge who campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of increasing biodiversity and reconnecting with nature, with a particular focus on ‘bees’: their behavior, the problems they face and what we can do to help. Brigit appeared on the TV show It’s Not Easy Being Green, and regularly speaks on a range of environmental and ethical issues.
The world is in a big mess, but whilst we run around like headless chickens trying to ‘fix’ it, we very rarely take the time to look at the root of the problem which is, I believe, ‘disconnection‘. We have become SO disconnected from ourselves, from each other and from the natural world – that we don’t even recognise the damage we’re doing…..let alone take responsibility for it!
We seem to have become conditioned, on a global scale, to search for ‘quick fixes’ – but quick fixes never work in the long term. They don’t work in personal relationships so how can they possibly be expected to work on issues as massive and on-going as declining biodiversity, climate change, deforestation, food security, pollution, waste…..the list goes on. It’s really no use papering over the cracks if we don’t simultaneously address the root of the problem – i.e disconnection.
Addressing this disconnection is not something that someone else can do for us. It needs to start within – and then spiral out (nature loves spirals!) till it encompasses and envelops all of our relationships; our relationships with ourselves, with each other and with the natural world. There are no barriers to this process other than the ones you put up yourself by saying ‘I can’t’. You can!!! It really is SO simple; all you need to do is think in terms of changing your habits. The only thing that limits us is our habits.
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make it count! Perhaps you could make a list of all the resources you use each day and decide to spend just one day a week cutting some of them out. Then, use the time that you gain from (for instance) not using the computer, to go for a walk. Take some long, slow, deep breaths; embrace the elements; listen to the sounds around you and know that you are a part of all that you see, hear and feel….not apart from it. Stop and look closely at what’s around you…maybe squat down and count the amount of different grasses and flowers you can see from where you are. Do you recognise them? Can you name any of them? Do you know if they are edible or have medicinal properties? Plants are amazing and have a way of sucking you into their world so that time stands still and before you know it you have reconnected – albeit just for a few moments – with nature.
I’ve had people call me puritanical, fanatical & dickensian because I choose to spend just one day a week (usually Sunday) without electricity, gas, oil, computer, mobile phone, car & money – but what I gain and what I’ve learned from switching off on Sundays cannot be measured. Choosing to spend one day a week in the slow lane has helped me begin the reconnection process and I will never again know what it is to be ‘alone’. When I am immersed in nature I loose all track of time and nothing matters other than the moment.
I have learned to recognise different sights and sounds; to know which bees or birds I might spot in which environments; and to tread more lightly so that I don’t disturb the inhabitants of the hills, woodlands and river banks where I walk. I still make mistakes, but I’m learning from them. Just last week I was trying to video an amazingly active bumblebee nest on the banks of the river Severn, but in my excitement I sat too close to the nest and realised afterwards that I had disturbed the bees’ landmarks and interfered with their flight path. I’ll be more respectful next time.
Reconnection takes time – it isn’t something you can hurry but it is imperative that we begin the process ASAP both individually and collectively. It doesn’t matter where you start; getting to know yourself, the people around you and the environment you live in are all interconnected – so one will lead automatically to another. You may fancy plunging in at the deep end by going out and sleeping in a bivi bag under the stars….or you may decide to go and sit on a bench in the local park for half an hour. It doesn’t matter how you/we do it….what matters is that we recognise that we are all a part of this amazing planet that nurtures and sustains us and that we start treating ourselves, each other and all other life with love and respect.
I hope this makes sense; it’s difficult trying to express something so huge in a blog.
Wishing you a beautiful sunshine filled day…whoever you are and whatever you do! xxx
Photo by Theodore Scott, via Flickr