I have a big goal. A massive goal. I want to see the world repaired, every single ecosystem regenerated or recreated where it was totally lost. I want our planet to be in the best damn shape we can possibly leave it in for our future generations. “Be the change you want to see in the world” keeps ringing in my head. These are the changes I want to see…but how? I feel so tiny and the challenge so large, so I started a list of things I felt might kick start the change. I believe they only scratch the surface, but I have to start somewhere.
- Share my ideas and passion to anyone who will listen. Establish a movement /tribe. Gather all those like-minded people into one place online to share ideas and create actions.
- Develop the most amazing resource rich website ever to support others to be part of the change. Include themes such as rewinding, permaculture, beyond sustainable farming, fundraising, how to volunteer, how to establish a rewild group and many, many more. Have case studies, academic papers, practical instructions, guidance materials. Links to seed banks, other service offerings that support our change. A place for shared contribution, learning and support.
- Establish trial sites across the world and develop case studies and videos that show all the stages from start to finish and demonstrate what can be achieved.
- Establish Rewilders Inc – an international not-for-profit that provides consulting services and advice, assist with developing grant applications, implement restoration and rewilding projects. A company that attracts the best of the best. The big thinkers. A company that literally changes the world – one project at a time.
So, now to get from aspirational to actual. Not quite sure yet how to do that but change has to start somewhere and my personal journey starts here.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi
i have the “what” – the “how” will find a way.
I have been talking to some amazing people lately and we have agreed to let our writing “go with the flow” so here I am. Here is my soul. This is the story that troubles me. It is raw and unedited, but it speaks my heart.
How much damage have we done to this planet? How many deserts and wastelands have we created? Too many to count. We are constantly contaminating the streams and oceans, all in the name of consumerism. What about earthism or some other similar ism? Revolutions of rewilding? Bring back the wild. Re-enliven all the parts of our world we have effectively killed off. Restore, revitalise, rewild. That is what we need to do.
I don’t mean to sound evangelistic, I am just passionate. I have swallowed my voice for too long. These problems are real. We have blown holes in the earth and left massive gaping holes. Whole streets are collapsing over the world because we, like worms, are burying under the soil creating tunnels for mines and sucking the very foundations out from under us. We are deforesting at a speed never seen before. Have we truly forgotten the wonderful lands we had before or are we just ignoring what we know is going to happen. Are we scared to confront it because it is so big?
The deserts, the Welsh moors – once teeming with life now barren landscapes and we think these are normal. This is not how they have always been. It’s not. Not even close. These places once flourished with life, forests created their own soils and ecosystems. People destroyed that, but people can bring the life back. Most people don’t believe it is possible, or care, but it is possible and some people do care. See Green the Desert as an example.
Although this example is on a tiny scale and not well resources to get it past restore and into revitalise stage, it shows the possibility. What they learnt from that project was that we need consistent care and management until the restoration is well established. After that it just becomes nurturing because nature can take over from there. It truly is possible.
There is always the question of money – how are we going to fund these projects? There is more than enough money in the world to revitalise our whole planet, it is a matter or moving the focus. Imagine all the viable lands available for people again. Reclaiming the deserts and wastelands will provide enough land to feed us. Of course we have to align this with sustainable farming practices. Not growing miles of monoculture to feed our cattle or to be used as “filler” in our processed foods. I am talking about real foods, diversity in foods. Sustainable practices, balance and a holistic approach to the earth. No more stripping and pillaging. Self-supporting ecosystems that include humans. Not single minded consumer driven monoculture that exclude every living thing, except humans and money.
Our consumerism is stripping the planet, leaving it naked and exposed. The winds taking the very skin and leaving it lifeless and barren. The lifeblood is being irrigated, polluted and wasted. Whole river systems are systematically being destroyed, all because we are choosing, yes choosing as even ignorance is a choice, to let them be destroyed. We are not actively caring for the planet. I suppose it is a bit like our own societies now – short term pleasures being sought with little or no disregard to the long term impacts. Our health is a perfect example, so many self inflicted diseases and chronic health issues and we think we have the right to make decisions about the planet. We can’t even make long term health decisions about ourselves, how can we possibly make decisions about our planet when the majority are for the now…the “trust me it will be fine” messages we constantly hear. Well it’s not fine and I personally am so sick of hearing these messages. They are just untrue and the big corporations have shown us now that their self interest is killing the earth one palm field at a time. But we have to also take accountability. The big corporations are providing what we keep buying.
There are caretakers already out there. A minority who have learned the lessons, the truly inspired. I think this is changing though. Awareness is raising, almost enough to start making a difference. These are the people, projects and organisations we should be funnelling our money toward. Invest in ethical organisations and projects that are making a difference. Stop buying “stuff” and actively supporting the destruction and decimation of our home.
We need two types of people – one to restore and revitalise, the other to revitalise and rewild. One group that are achieves, the strivers, the ActionJacksons. The other are the healers, the stable, the holistic mindful operators that can sustain momentum for the long haul – and it will be a long haul. It has taken many generations to get in such a bad state and it will take consistent effort over many generations to get it right. What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our children? One of hopelessness, or one with a future, a bright energy filled future? I choose the latter and it all starts with intent.
So many of the people I have spoken to talk of a restlessness that won’t go away. That something that is not sitting comfortably with them. They have a feeling that something big is calling them, their passion, their purpose. They feel it in their very being.
The planet is calling us, I feel it. It is a deep knowing. It is calling us, just as it always has, but we stopped listening. Our ancestors were connected, but we have forgotten how to hear. We just sit with our discomfort, searching for the cause but not acknowledging our hearts. We know. Many of us feel it so strongly it keeps us awake at night. Stop and listen. Open your heart and feel the energy of nature. You are awakening to your purpose and the changes will be huge.
Are you a domesticated human? Routine. Living within self-made fences and boundaries?
The sad thing is that you don’t even need a real fence to keep be domesticated, you have either set these limitations yourself or allowed others to set them for you.
You know what is even worse, for many of you the fences aren’t even the main barrier to freedom. Do you work long hours at a desk or in an office environment – out of the sunlight and air? It can actually feel like you are in a cage or a box. Deprived of sunlight and movement. For many hours of the day you don’t get to breathe fresh air and your muscles are withering away. Your body is forgetting the joy of being wild. Over the generations, wildness is becoming just a lost idealism. Too many believe it can’t be regained. Not by going back to the past, but by creating a new vision for the future. The new generation enable themselves to be free.
Dream of how it would feel for the entire length of your being to be in full flight. Experiencing the movement of every muscle and fibre. Imagine what it would be like to run – not the boring methodical run of a domesticated runner. I mean, a full stride, joyous run in nature. Just running for running sake. Not for exercise, not because you think it will make you fit. Just because.
Do you feel the urge? Just run!
One thing I know for sure, you need to become more comfortable with quiet time, alone time. Just you and your thoughts. Stop trying to dampen your feelings and thoughts with mindless technology use or “busyness”. Preventing your emotions to be felt and processed is creating a beast inside you. One where the emotions and thoughts explode every so often, no longer able to be contained. Not to the outside world. The explosion occurs in your head and heart and it can feel overwhelming. The explosive emotions and thoughts are so strong, the volume so large. It is easier to pretend they don’t exist.
Time to stop pretending and ignoring. You DO feel, you DO think. You are already probably know that you need to process these thoughts and feelings. You can’t keep hiding. At some stage in your life you will come to realise that the wildness needs to be heard. You need to listen. Take the time to listen. Bringing these to the surface may be a little challenging – you may cry or get angry at all the things yet unexpressed. This is OK. It is part of the process. You may be craving peace with soft, subtle feelings and emotions – not all or nothing. At this stage you don’t have to action anything – just be prepared to listen to your wild heart. The soft and subtle will come. First you have to release the beast that has built up inside you.
I remember running down the tunnel, thinking “where the fuck am I going to go?”. My legs ached at every step but I couldn’t stop. The creature was closing in on me and I could feel the hot breath on my neck, the stench of which was indescribable. The thunderous roar of his wings was almost deafening. My heart was pounding in my throat and I could hardly breathe. Waves of nausea were threatening to bring me to my knees and I was unsure how much longer my body would keep going. One thing I was so sure of was that if I didn’t get out of this tunnel, then there would be no tomorrow – of that I was certain. I didn’t want this to be the way I finally went. I wanted my final breaths to be taken doing something amazing, not running down a dirty, dark orifice in the underbelly of the city. Other things much stronger than this had not defeated me, and I sure as hell was not going to die in that place. As luck would have it, fate had other plans.
I spied a shadow to the side of the hallway, close to where I was running but I was moving too quickly to figure what the shadow was – I just readied myself to keep barreling past. Suddenly the wind was ripped from my chest as the shadow reached out and pulled me into an icy hole, the wall slamming shut again behind me. I could feel the frozen ground beneath me as I lay there trying to comprehend what had just happened and where I was. My lungs felt like they were exploding from the running and the icy air was burning with every gasp. The world was spinning around me and I heard a voice faintly just as I felt myself drifting into unconsciousness, “we better get her inside or we will lose her”. The world went dark and there was nothing I could do to stop it…..
As I awoke, I could feel the searing pain in my face and lungs. My eyeballs felt like they were full of jagged rocks scraping and shifting against the soft lenses, tearing giant chasms. I decided to keep them closed for a bit and took stock of my body which ached like never before. I felt like he had been hit by a truck, which is so unlike me. I am super fit and although my adventures can leave me feeling a bit worse for wear, why such a strong reaction with my body? Something wasn’t right. The words “not normal” were running through my head. I remembered it had been really cold but I had been almost hyperthermic before and not had this reaction. As I was working it through in my head I heard footsteps beside where I lay and tried to open my eyes. The pain was excruciating and I yelped – a mixture of pain and fear of not being in control. I felt a firm touch on my shoulder and gentle voice of a male reminding me that I had been rescued from the hallway and my inevitable fate. I was grateful that fate had intervened but I had so many questions. Again I tried to open my eyes and the now familiar pain caused me to groan. The voice was saying “don’t try and open your eyes. It will take another day before the swelling goes down. The icy air outside of here is tinged with acid and we can’t go out in it without protection. Unfortunately we had no choice if we were to get you out of the tunnel. We figured you wouldn’t mind paying the price of some discomfort to maintain your life”. It was true, I was grateful but I couldn’t wait for the swelling to go down. I had so many things racing through my head and I was eager to find out where I was, but I just had to be patient – not my strong point. Waiting is hard, but I was still alive. I remember laying there thinking that in the end, all things equal, today was a good day and I looked forward to tomorrow.