In the spirit of Earth Day, I think of the small actions and the power each of us has to effect positive change on the Earth, its land and all its inhabitants. Sometimes the problems we face as a planet and species seems insurmountable, but deep down, I truly believe we each have the power to make change.
Question is, where to start? We need to start with ourselves. Being open to see our relationship with the world and how we view the resources around us. How can we live more in tandem with the cycles of nature – in business, at home, in our personal lives. Can we be honest with ourselves, asking truly how do our actions impact others across the Earth? These are tough and uncomfortable questions.
I am not perfect and enjoy many creature comforts life affords me in the realm in which I live. But I do need to ask – how can I be a better steward of all I have to support me in my life? How can I do more with less? How can I listen to the Earth and better mimic the cycles of rest, growth, death and regeneration?
I know I am not alone in asking these questions. It pleases me that more and more people are paying attention to these questions – questions that aren’t new, but are absolutely still relevant. When 40 people show up to my wild edibles classes, I start to realize that just like the growth of the local food movement, there is a growing groundswell of interest in the bigger picture of the natural world around us.
I offer inspiration from an essay by Wendell Berry called “Think Little” (from A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural & Agricultural reprinted in the Whole Earth Catalog, 1969).
“If we are to hope to correct our abuses of each other and of other races and of our land, and if our effort to correct these abuses is to be more than a political fad that will in the long run be only another form of abuse, then we are going to have to go far beyond public protest and political action. We are going to have to rebuild the substance and the integrity of private life in this country. We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibility that we have parceled out to the bureaus and the corporations and the specialists, and we are going to have to put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and households and neighborhoods. We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities. We need persons and households that do not have to wait upon organizations, but can make necessary changes in themselves, on their own.” ~Wendell Berry, 1969
I teach about wild plants and their role in our lives because its a forum that helps me better understand both myself and the place in which I live. Studying both plants and their ecosystems are models that can show me how to live a truly rich life. If I pay attention.
We are realizing that the answers we seek are already around us. If we pay attention. If we take action.
*photos by Megan Smith. 2015