Reflecting on this later, I wondered why? What is it about this activity that brings me so much cup-runneth-over joy? In fact, I sometimes wonder how it is that I find myself, fresh out of youth at 39 and utterly enamoured and obsessed with the photosynthesising set. Is this weird? (Maybe.) Am I crazy? (Probably.)
In the video I talked about my year of not buying anything new in 2008. (You know, in that era of the aughts where people were doing all sorts of year-long challenges to make the world a better place?) I talked about how that year introduced me to some pretty scary realities in the world, like the fact that we’ve used up all of the cheap, easy to get fossil fuels and the energy return on what’s invested is rapidly diminishing. I understood more about how the burning of those fuels contributes to a changing climate and how our resource management strategy seems to be: extract whatever the earth has got, at the expense of our flora, fauna, lakes, rivers, oceans, forests, air and most importantly at the expense of the lives of the most marginalised populations in the world, not to mention our children and our future. I learned a little bit about how the economy is like one big Ponzi scheme, money is loaned into existence and the whole system rests on the ridiculous belief that infinite growth on a finite planet is possible and desirable. (There’s a good summary of the issues here.)
As these realities sunk in, I got scared, depressed, zealous, horrified, indignant, judgemental, self-righteous, green, crunchy, granola, active, involved, engaged, really into permaculture, radical homemaking, self-reliant homesteading, prepping, gardening, canning… It was quite a year! And I found the plants. Or they found me. I’m still not sure. All I know is that suddenly they were everywhere and I wanted to know everything I could about them. I wanted, in the most earnest, big-eyed way possible, to devote the rest of my life to the study and stewardship of the plants. Suddenly, it was the most obvious and sensible response to all the information I was taking in, which had completely shaken up my world view. So I pulled up my sleeves and got to work creating a practical (and IMO, beautiful) antidote to the bleak and resource depleted world we seem to be on track for leaving to future generations.
My heart gets heavy and so darn sad when I think about things like this and the only thing I want to do in the face of it all, is find ways to live in the world that might lead to a more balanced, co-creative, regenerative, closed-loop relationship with my habitat. (Lofty ideal I know, but the heart wants what the heart wants.)
So, I don’t have plans to do anything special or different on Earth Day, but I know that my hands will be busy with some kind of ancient future work.