When you fly over the familiar patchwork quilt of the world below, looking down through the tiny plastic window of planes we shouldn’t, but often take; the sight, though expected, is not a comforting one. Conventional farming is unnatural, eliminating more organisms than it creates through its callow understanding of the biodynamic sources of life.
Even wrapped in all my city-raised ignorance, nothing brings me more childlike credence than the sight of fallow lands. It is in nature’s court that awe – now lost to the throes of conventional education which guides us so carelessly to our destiny of disenchantment – is replenished by all which is wild.
Other gateways exist, of course: mind-altering substances, deep spiritual understanding (of which most westerners know not), or being under childhood’s spell. But the overall disconnection of our species from nature itself is, in sweet simplicity, the consequential cause of our climate’s crisis.
“The power and majesty of nature in all its aspects is lost on one who contemplates it merely in the detail of its parts and not as a whole”.
— Pliny the Elder
I’ve realized over the past years, as I’ve tried to grasp the in-depth intricacies of issues faced by this planet, that we’re missing major portions of the stories we tell.
Humans struggle to think systemically, it is why opinions polarize populations, and why we have such a punchy penchant for fundamentalist behaviour, especially online. Bias is so easily buttressed by our ignorance, bolstering our inability to move beyond the black-or-white logic we’ve come accustomed to.
The idea that another’s opinions are categorically ‘wrong’ in order for ours to be ‘right’ keeps our egos fully fed but prevents us from coming up with collaborative ways of communicating and blocks us from the importance of perspective.
This way of thinking blinds us from the inevitable reality that in order to source solutions to the myriad of problems our planet and its inhabitants face, we need to share a state of sensible speculation and be willing to admit when we’ve set our sails wrong, so we can collectively right the course again. It is only then that we’ll be susceptible to sagacity, science, and spirit – the holy trinity of discovery – and learn to think holistically.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I spent the majority of last year revaluating the way I write. I don’t tend to be very succinct, and on the subject of sustainability, I’m not sure I can be. But, when I wrote ‘Leo & The Lion Learn of Love‘ the night of the terrorist attacks in Paris, I tried to coalesce all the wisdom which I would have wished to have taught my nephew, had I passed. The friendly familiarity of the picture book allowed me to share all I had to say in a healthy and hopeful way, and I have begun to suspect the conversations around climate change require a similar sentiment.
Before industry and technology took over teaching our tots, storytelling and fairy tales explained the complexities of our collective reality through an approachable nightly narrative. These tales gave form to fears and dreams, offering wisdom and discovery through enchantment’s lens, nourishing imagination with hope while guiding children through life’s uncertainties free from anxiety.
Currently, the angle with which we communicate about climate change is based around blame, shame, doom and gloom. It affects all of us, enraging us or depressing us; putting the weight of the world on the shoulders of each citizen. It is scientific, journalistic, and heavy, so filled with a sense of hopelessness that the collective overwhelm causes the majority of our society to ignore the issues completely.
All of this has inspired me to spend the majority of my time in the coming year on a new series. I’m calling it ‘Grounded’, and my goal with each piece is to make the conversation around climate change more approachable. With each story, I’ll attempt to ignite that sense of enchantment I spoke of, using the magical tales found in the subjects of indigenous ecological knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, regenerative agriculture, and rewilding. Giving mother nature, in all her majesty, a voice. One which might ground, unite and inspire us towards actions of hope.
PHOTOS: Annie Spratt via Unsplash