The birds are singing. A wind gently rocks the surrounding trees. Wet clouds float heavy in the sky as the sun makes its way through the occasional blue openings, heating up the moist air.
This land holds a promise.
Just like every place on this planet, it hasn’t been unaffected by civilisation: a road runs past in the not too far distance, with occasional motor sounds carrying through. The lakeview is cut by a set of powerlines. The neighbouring bush track continuously gets polluted with trash – hunters leave their garbage, dropping it along the sides of the track.
Still, this land holds a promise. Nestled upon a hillside, surrounded by native bush, the next-door neighbours live a kilometre away.
It has a certain virginity to it. An innocence. A healing quality.
A swarming bee colony found the empty beehive only recently and must be thrilled to find so many flowers here. Wood pigeons and Tui birds feed on the native flowers. Moreporks, the native owl, adds its gentle tune to the silent night. The adjacent hillside steams with thermal activity.
This land speaks of potential. The potential of nature, cared for by humans rather than exploited for profit. The potential of healing in nature that comes from slowing down and connecting. The potential of beauty that resides everywhere, and has a healing quality of its own. The potential of evolution, where plants grow from seed, just as humans do, unfolding in their own time when nurtured well. The potential of rapid learning by observation, trial and error, and shifting to act differently to create different results. The potential of sustainability by honouring the land that sustains all living creatures upon it. The potential of reconnecting to natural wisdom within. The potential of honouring the immense and unpriceable value of clean drinking water. The potential for warriorship, setting boundaries to creatures that destroy this place with over-consumption or toxicity. The potential of a bold invitation to Being and acting from that state.
It can be maddening to look beyond, at current reality of how humans are treating the planet, nature, living beings, themselves and each other. The simple act of going shopping in the supermarket is mostly an act of destruction. Shelves are filled with wrapped foods (and junk), designed to ease consumption: essentially, it is a huge trash shop. What happens with the plastic that wraps everything from your spaghetti to your toothpaste, your cheese, your cucumbers, and your toilet paper? It’s a big “fuck you!” to our planet, buying plastic and other non-compostable materials. Recyclability of a material mitigates the effects only so much: the amount of energy needed for the recycling process is one thing; the fact that whatever has been produced stays as a foreign object on this planet is another. It does not go away, ever.
There’s only one way to truly commit to life here: to become sustainable and regenerative by stopping at the source, refusing to consume any of the harmful materials in the first place. It may seem overwhelming, because these materials are everywhere: Not only around your foods but also your clothing, your phones and other communication devices, your houses, your cars, … everything. As I write, I am writing on a future piece of rubbish. This laptop will get out of order at some point. So, what to do?
Once upon a time, humans were producing only compostable rubbish. Natural products that would reintegrate into the cycle of nature past their use by date. This tells me: It is possible. How to align that with modern ways of living, I don’t know. Going back is not the way forward either. If ever there was a time, and humans equipped with the necessary technology and research capabilities to make it possible, it is now.
We need a shift in our thinking. “Where there is a will, there is a way”, they say. We could all see that during the past years of Covid measures. Yet it cannot come only from our heads. It has to go through our hearts first. Feeling the pain of where we are at is a necessary step on this path.
Then it becomes a detox and cleaning-up mission that starts in us, in our thoughtware and our human-mess. Reconnecting to the waters in us, the rivers of sadness that flow when we truly let ourselves be touched by the incredible mess that we’ve made. Allowing ourselves to be scared to shit because we don’t know how it goes otherwise, and we don’t have a plan. Letting these waves fully wash over us before we activate enough anger to go into action and take a stand for a radically different way – for ourselves, our future, our planet. Discovering the joy of life that comes from the simple acknowledgment of the magic that surrounds us at any time: The incredible wonder of living on a planet that has brought forth an incredible variety of different life forms, that has an abundance of air and water unique in this galaxy (and this universe, from what we know), and that sustains us if we collaborate.
We can feel this all and not die from it. We can feel this all and change course. What if the slowing down from refusing to buy plastic was a path that brought along healing and a whole new perspective, to evolve into a regenerative culture?
This land holds a promise.