A blank canvas

The global issues of climate change, poverty, and economic instability, are all intrinsically linked to our relationship with the environment: the disconnect between people and the environment, and disjointed or non-existent communities. Charles Eisenstein put this perfectly in his new article in Resurgence & Ecologist, summarising the war-like stance to “fight” climate change and environmental catastrophes on a global scale. I’m increasingly coming to realise that the more local solutions designed and implemented, the more global impact this could have long-term. This is in comparison to oversimplifying the issue to one cause and solution: the “enemy” is greenhouse gases, and the solution is reducing emissions/increasing sequestration  (Eisenstein, 2014). Local solutions mean that everyone can be involved…

…the cause of climate instability is everything: every dimension of our separation from Earth, Nature, heart, truth, love, community, and compassion. – Charles Eisenstein, 2014

One issue, based here in the UK, are the devastated ecosystems. There are severe over-populations of some species, which in turn have dramatic impacts on the fauna, e.g. red deer radically over-grazing the flora, helping to maintain treeless landscapes, which are void of diversity compared to native woodlands. To me the landscapes that remain bare are a blank canvas ripe for acts of rewilding. Rewilding is a term which most people visualise to extremes – wolves, bears, and moose roaming all over the reforested landscapes in the UK, barely leaving room for the people. In fact, rewilding can be used to describe many varying situations in connection to nature: planting trees, revitalising the connection between people and the environment, creating areas of abundant wildlife.

A key campaigner for rewilding in the UK is George Monbiot (http://www.monbiot.com/). This rewilding would involve replanting trees on the fells, for example. Not only would this benefit wildlife, but also people. The trees would protect the watershed by creating soil stability via their root systems to reduce flood risk and harmful runoff, create oxygen we need to breathe, act as a carbon sink for the pollution, and help to re-invigorate the lives of people who have forgotten what it feels like to be within nature. It would be difficult to put an economic value on some of these benefits, and arguably there shouldn’t be a price on nature, as the intrinsic value would be so great (Monbiot, 2014). Monbiot suggests simply creating a choice for the farmers of the landscape – either take the subsidies you receive for farming the land, or receive subsidies for rewilding by planting trees and allowing for forest regeneration.

Connectedness is something which everyone craves, and Eisenstein recognises that as instinctive. People know that they need to feel connected with others and the environment and that it creates joy, which is lost in a society of finding fulfillment within separate life “bubbles”. We find an emotional satisfaction in helping others, joining in the web of giving and receiving. This is mutually beneficial to all parties, unlike the current economic system for example – one person gains whilst others lose out. If you were to not just know, but recognise and act upon this, there would be a ripple effect to, ultimately, accomplish the impossible; make a global impact by thinking and acting locally at the heart of it all.

By integrating community with food, economic, and energy systems within the living environment, we could all find a new lease of life, a breath of fresh air, all the while having a positive impact on climate change.

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Articles to read:

Eisenstein, C. (2014) Climate Change: The Bigger Picture http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article4147-climate-change-the-bigger-picture.html). – making a global impact through local solutions

Monbiot, G. (2014) Reframing the Planet http://www.monbiot.com/2014/04/22/reframing-the-planet/ – a critical view of placing a cost on the intrinsic value of nature

Video to watch:

Eisenstein, C. (2012) The Gift of Happiness 

– creating connections creates happiness

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