Antidote to ecological despair

Hey everyone – I am working on something longer looking at ideas to help set the countryside free but I’ve been getting bogged down in other work. At the same time, like everyone else, I have been watching in horror as the Arctic and the Amazon burn, and feeling that now familiar mix of anxiety, rage and despair. I work full time on the environment, but its still not enough. Luckily this weekend I had the option to spend some serious time down on my fields, and it was the perfect antidote to that feeling of helplessness. So much so that it has got me thinking once again about how to channel people’s desire to do something – something big – into positive action. But first things first. What did I see?

Well, for the first time ever I saw a stoat in the fields. Bounding away through the grass and upsetting a pheasant as it ran away from me. I actually saw a second stoat on the road later, so I am not sure if there is a some kind of stoat dispersal underway, but it was lovely all the same. I also saw my roe deer and the resident barn owl.. the usual families of buzzards and a reed warbler. I’m also pretty sure I heard a water vole, as it made that tell tale plop from a riverbank lined with vole holes. Not bad for a morning. I’ll have to tot up the number of species I’ve seen now, but just in terms of mammals it must be about nine or ten (otter, fox, badger, hares, rabbits, roe deer, harvest mouse, field vole, stoat, water vole?).

I also found some evidence of natural regeneration of trees. There is a small copse in one of the fields, which is gradually spreading as the birch advance, but for the first time I’ve found saplings away from that. Not many, but fingers cross they will survive and spread. The willow particularly has a good chance as its clumpy ball shape makes it harder for the deer to rub all the bark off like they do with many of the birch trees. Anyway, the new trees, the animals, the insects, the long grass and the general sense of sunny abundance has renewed my sense that this is a good thing, and we need more of it and more people involved. It also reminded me that as we watch the Amazon burn, we once had our own temperate rainforests and swamps, that we could one day return.

To try and make that happen – even if only on a small scale – I’ve been meeting a few folk behind the scenes and there is a lot of interest, but its a case of finding a structure that allows greater involvement in new projects and finding ways to help people buy more land. Anyway, watch this space. We all know we need to change, and we all feel a desperate need to do something. Political action is essential, but practical action may be the thing that keeps us sane. I’ll stay in touch as my ideas develop.


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