|…..and why forgotten traditional methods of living are crucial to our survival! |
We are all aware that we need to address the levels of our greenhouse gas emissions here in Western ‘civilized society’ and change how we live or it’s not just the poor folk on the other side of the world dealing with the effects of the climate crisis; we are ALL facing mass extinction. Well, I say we are all aware, but the truth is, far too many people are just carrying on as if nothing is wrong, and no matter how many times people block the M25 or climb on aeroplanes to highlight the issues, the message just isn’t getting through quickly enough.
Thankfully, enough of us are aware to try very, very hard to find more innovative ways to reach them and to also just get on with the business of showing them how we could be living healthier, more enriching and purposeful lives that aren’t hurtling towards disaster for our future generations. The Eden Movement (www.newedenism.org) encourages people to make kindness the main focus in their decision making. We founded the Movement in 2018 and have since discovered that choosing kindness always comes down to two things: what causes the least harm and sharing what you have. Apply the kindness principle to farming and you find that it’s no longer justifiable to exploit, harm, kill and eat animals. It’s no longer acceptable to cover our food in pesticides that kill bees. Monocrops depleting the soil aren’t sustainable for planet-kind solutions and it definitely isn’t kind to destroy the rainforest so we can harvest obscene amounts of palm oil and pop it in biscuits and processed food that we probably shouldn’t be eating anyway if we were to be kinder to our bodies.
When you break it down and choose kindness in all areas of your life, you soon find that old fashioned values and an almost wartime attitude to ‘doing your bit’ starts to creep in, and before you know it, you’re blackberry picking and making fruit crumble for your elderly neighbour whilst also trying to work out where is best in your garden to grow beans. Apply the kindness principles to our personal lives and we find that working hard, often in a job that we do not enjoy to pay for a house that we don’t have time to be in along with all the stresses of modern life doesn’t feel very kind to ourselves.
|The flipside is that more you open your eyes to the kindest options, the more the injustice of what is unkind is highlighted. The recognition of all the toxicity in our society can overwhelm until cognitive dissonance kicks in and it’s just easier to not deal with any of it. Especially when life is already hard. When it’s difficult to make ends meet, the last thing on our minds is whether the pizza, chips and ice-cream on offer at Iceland is ethical. Feeding our kids feels more ethical. The poverty trap is very real and for the ones fighting to make changes, we are very aware of the privilege that affords some us to do it. But this is where an interesting dichotomy appears because by tackling how we source our food and rearranging our lives to have different priorities, we could all be richer, not only in pennies, but in making deeper connections within our community. |
We become more time rich when we start sharing the jobs that need doing and sharing our resources so that not everyone needs to own every bit of equipment. By breaking down what is essential to our well-being and pulling together, we can find ways to adjust our way of life and dramatically increase our chances of survival. We need to get our noses up from our devices and back out into nature. Once you start connecting to the earth, you start advocating for it. And once you start connecting with each other with a common cause like saving the planet and choosing kindness, you no longer feel so disjointed or powerless about making a significant difference.
Not only would coming together as communities to grow food tackle the sustainability issues around current food supply chains and lower our carbon footprint, it brings people together.
By using heritage growing knowledge such as companion planting with permaculture, and the benefits of technology so that we can find each other to share our findings, the combination is powerful and effective. Studying farming history, be it medieval hedgewitchery, pilgrim farming, indigenous methods or even how we utilized space and materials to grow food in wartime efforts, in conjunction with the powers of the internet means we can share our successes (and seeds and spaces and tools) region by region and culturally shift how we live so that growing and buying locally sourced, seasonal food becomes the norm.