Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweetening The Place Where You Live

Many of us feel a huge and hopeless heart wrench at the prospect of wild tigers, polar bears and orang-u-tans disappearing forever - and these are just the "poster-species" for the massive amount of biodiversity we stand to lose in the next 30 to 50 years. It may seem like there is nothing we can do to stop the downward slide to mass extinction - but there is something that every one of us can do.

Nature writer and Biomimicry expert, Janine Benyus calls it "sweetening the place where we live"- what a great line. It reminds us that Nature relentlessly keeps on creating more and more conditions conducive for more and more Life. It's not simply great numbers that sustain Life, but also a wealth of diversity - multitudes of different forms of Life.

Disconnection from the Natural world fosters behaviours such as eradicating the creatures that live around us instead of celebrating them. We grow alien plants instead of indigenous ones. We poison the places where we live instead of sweetening them. We can change this, and when we do, we abandon an artificially imposed sterility and embrace the abundance that is utterly natural.

Love the Life around you. Know it's name. Be proud to foster as much biodversity as you can. It does make a difference. If you live in a city, even in a high-rise apartment, you can still do something to sweeten the place where you live. I recently read about a project encouraging urban-dwellers on the North American butterfly migration route to grow indigenous butterfly food plants not just in their suburban gardens, but on city rooftops, window-sills and balconies with the aim of providing a continuous source of food for the travellers. If you know your place, you can sweeten it so well. It's the kind of small action in the big picture that feels really good.

Anyone can be a champion of biodiversity:

  • Regard the place where you live as an ecosystem and foster its health and robustness
  • Grow native plants and trees that can support other native Life
  • Avoid poisons - if necessary, use only natural pest control strategies until you achieve a self-regulating ecological balance
  • Strive for your environment to provide as much opportunity as possible for as many different living organisms
  • Enjoy your abundance

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