This is an emergency.
We have overloaded, depleted, disintegrated or otherwise degraded every natural system on earth. If we do not act now, we may not survive. Will we even deserve to?
The solution is simple: regeneration. We need to rebuild, revitalise, rejuvenate and recreate both the natural cycles we have disrupted and the ecosystems we have devastated. If we just leave them alone natural systems will regenerate themselves. But we can jump-start the process.
Look at carbon. We are carbon-based life forms after all. And the problem of climate change stems essentially from our overloading of the carbon cycle. We hacked into the earth’s carbon storage supplies, products of untold generations of life and death, and we polluted the atmosphere by burning them for fuel. Now we need to take this excess carbon out of the atmosphere and store it back in the earth before we change our environment too fast to be able to adapt to it.
Let’s start with the soil. It is the source of all life on earth, its final resting place and resurrection. It is also the largest terrestrial store of carbon, with the most potential for uptake. And storing carbon in the soil is a win-win no matter how you look at it. The result will be healthy topsoil and the possibility of future prosperity, while the process will begin to rebuild the living communities that we have so thoroughly decimated.
Embrace diversity. You cannot control nature and you certainly cannot defeat it. Everything has its place and there are only so many stones you can take out of a wall before it crumbles. You are a part of nature. You are not apart from it.
But what can we do? First, let’s ask what we can not do. We can stop mowing the lawn down to the scalp. We can stop cutting the hedgerows back to the scut. We can stop tilling the soil to the point of disintegration. Most of all, we need to stop enclosing our lives away from the earth. Take a step back. Let it happen and let it be.
Then think about action. How can we grow food and feed the soil life at the same time? How can we create space for ourselves while leaving room for the panoply of life? How can we unlock potential energy without exhausting it?
Imitate nature, or, better yet, work with nature. Design resilience, build communities, unlock the creative energies of living beings cooperating and competing.
Close the cycle. Waste is an extremely mischievous concept. Nature doesn’t waste. Or, more accurately, when nature does waste the imperatives of evolution quickly select against it. Creation and destruction are both illusions. What is now always was and always will be, only its form will change, and this change is inevitable.
Grow a garden. Or at least, let it grow. If you cannot do good, then do nothing. That is good enough. If you can do, then teach. Aim to leave everywhere you go at least as beautiful as you found it.
What you do is insignificant, just a ripple in a great ocean. But a ripple, like the wings of a butterfly, can be felt across the depths of space-time.
Take care of yourself. If you can, take care of others. If you can’t, then at least get off their backs. The world needs nourishment and so do we. Take time to relax. We are in need of regeneration too.
Act with love. Apply principles. Make connections. Don’t forget to live and don’t be afraid to die.
Rejoice for it is a beautiful world. And we have not succeeded in destroying it yet.