Category Archives: Sustainablity

Nature is stronger than humanity

Nature is stronger than humanity in any struggle.

Nature is opportunistic taking advantage of any situation to live, grow and procreate.  This young starling in Colchester is a member of a species that successfully uses the roof structures of town houses to nest in.

Nature is opportunistic taking advantage of any situation to live, grow and procreate. This young starling in Colchester is a member of a species that successfully uses the roof structures of town houses to nest in.

Walking in a location called Hilly Fields in Colchester with my camera I met a fellow visitor who remembered the place as an empty set of fields for cattle during the 1970′s.  Over forty years later Hilly Fields is woodland, and it is hard to imagine this place now with no trees but grassland for cows.  Nature will quickly take over a place and return a wasteland to a living chaos of rampant plant and animal if the opportunity arises.

Even in my garden I see the procreative power of nature.  I can mow the lawn and four days later it flowers and fast growing vegetation cover the lawn again.  I remove the so-called weeds from the paving stones in the same garden, but days later the same plants emerge again.  In battle with nature over my garden, nature is winning.

There is a wonderful set of photographs showing how nature has run wild in Detroit in the USA, which was hit hard by the economic chaos from 2007.   People have abandoned whole neighborhoods in Detroit, and nature has taken advantage, a metaphor of the power of nature against human civilisation.  It is highly unlikely humanity can kill off all plants and animals on planet earth, there will come a tipping point when it becomes unsustainable for humanity to survive as a species, and nature will from the remaining plants and animals create tens of millions of new versions to replace the losses.  Detroit is a perfect metaphor of natures strength against humanity, a lesson to heed unless humanity wants to experience Detroit across the face of human civilisation.

Relating business to planet earth

Placing planet earth at the heart of a business.

My experiences in nature directly impacts how I run my business.  My relationship and treatment to planet earth is no different to that I have with my oak sapling.

My experiences in nature directly impacts how I run my business. My relationship and treatment of planet earth is no different to that I have with my oak saplings.

Summer, I camp a lot. I often evict wildlife from my tent, this morning it was a grasshopper. Sharing life intimately with wild creatures gives you a different outlook on life compared to most people.

In the garden I note my oak saplings are growing fast, needing larger pots.  I have cared for these oak saplings from acorns, of the original thirteen acorns, eight survived to grow into oak saplings. Caring for wild things changes your viewpoint.

I watched a video over the weekend about the relationship of the neolithic builders of Stonehenge and the River Avon, how they held the river as sacred, a source of all the animals which they hunted that came to the river to drink.  The reverence for water, the landscape, the animals of the Stonehenge builders is the same as that of the cave painters of Chauvet twenty-thousand years earlier who painted a stampede of animals coming out of a vulva-like water source in their cave.

I discover my values and personal insights from how I react to what I see and experience in the world around me. I reacted in anger at the greed and vanity of money investors in business ideas in the US reality television series Shark Tank on YouTube.  I reacted in dismay at the wasteful stupidity portrayed in a video on consumerism: people queuing for a week to get hold of the latest iPhone, whose only enhancement from the last was its colour; IKEA marketing telling consumers to throw out perfectly good possessions; Apple designing a new type of screw on its smartphones in order to prevent people repairing damaged phones, thus encouraging waste; the extensive scams brands go to called obsolescence to make objects the consumer buys break quickly increasing waste and needless replacement.  The contempt the modern economic paradigm has to this planet is at odds with our human ancestors, and at odds with my worldview.

I am part of a new business paradigm, where I can compete against rivals on equal terms with innovation and clever strategies, but where I care for the planet earth in the same manner as I cared for the grasshopper this morning and my oak saplings.  In thinking on these matters in the garden this morning, my garden fox Amber appeared, yawned, then went to sleep in the sun.

Working and connecting with nature

Ignorance and working against nature has harmful consequences.

Cows are dangerous.  Every year in the UK a walker dies because of their ignorance and lack of respect of cows.

Cows are dangerous. Every year in the UK a walker dies because of their ignorance and lack of respect of cows.

My ability connecting with nature is the result of seeing nature for what it is, and acting in harmony with nature.  The story of polar bears reinforces my point.

A student from my town of Colchester travelled with others to Svalbard Island in Norway known for its population of polar bears.  First ideal is knowing that polar bears are dangerous you keep away from their territories unless it is a matter of vital importance; these students went for the fun of it.  Second ideal is knowing the danger and being prepared for it; these students had no night watch, their trip alarm set in a triangle rather than a rectangle, their gun needed a paperclip to work.  A student died in a polar bear attack, and injured four other members of the expedition.  The polar bear died of its injuries.  Had people respected nature a polar bear and humans would have avoided death and injury.

The video below is about polar bears and huskies working in beautiful harmony.  The owner of the huskies respects the polar bears inherent wildness and works with nature, using fire crackers to educate the polar bears to keep their distance from him at all times.

The sum is greater than its opposing parts

All things need opposites to exist.

Some argue Colchester grey squirrels should be destroyed as pests, yet without a squirrel burying a nut in my garden I would have no hazel tree growing there.

Some argue Colchester grey squirrels should be destroyed as pests, yet without a grey squirrel burying a nut in my garden I would have no hazel tree growing there.

My friend recently said that all rabbits in Britain should be destroyed as pests.  I disagreed on many levels.

112. “Joints are at once a unitary whole and not a unitary whole. To be in agreement is to differ, the concord-ant is the discord-ant. From many things comes oneness, and out of oneness come the many things.”  Heraclitus

What Heraclitus infers is that an object in nature has its opposite, from this opposition everything come into being.  As an example, fire from the sun and its opposite water in a rainstorm produces a rainbow.  If either sun or rain was missing, no rainbow.

In the USA the rabbit is a major food source to the Bald Eagle.  The rabbit is in opposition to the Bald Eagle, but needs the eagle to exist to control the rabbit population that would quickly consume its food sources leading to mass starvation.  If one of the opposites of rabbit and eagle vanished, both would probably vanish, whilst other plants and animals that needed rabbit and eagle would suffer too.

Scientists are observing that the rivals raven and wolf are following the paradox of oppositions working together in harmony for mutual benefit, they are both helping each other in the hunting down of food.  If the raven spots a sick elk, it will make the wolves aware of the prey; the wolves in killing and ripping apart the thick pelt of the elk provides the ravens a feeding opportunity.  Scientists observe that when wolves return to an area colonies of ravens will appear too.  The ravens will play and interact with the wolves.

106. “To God all things are beautiful, good, and right. Men, on the other hand, deem some things right and others wrong.”  Heraclitus.

I hope humanity will abandon the delusion of good and bad in favour of the opposites, for without the conflict of opposites nothing can exist.  The rabbit is just a rabbit, doing what rabbits do, neither inherently good or bad.  The solution to a rabbit problem is looking for its opposite, a bird of prey for instance.  Introducing an opposite causes hidden new possibilities, for instance a new plant species may emerge because the birds of prey reduced the rabbit population.

Working with nature

Use nature to benefit you.

Of the original 13 I am now down to ten oak saplings, eight with leaves.  I am going to infect them with a beneficial fungus to improve their growth and survivability.

Of the original 13 I am now down to ten oak saplings, eight with leaves. I am going to infect them with a beneficial fungus to improve their growth and survivability.

Most people regard nature as the enemy they fight and control.  Few people are wise enough to work with nature, studying how nature works, then using the knowledge they learn for positive results.

I have ten surviving oak saplings, eight with leaves, two with roots but as yet no leaves.  I have discovered that there is a fungus called mycorrhizal fungi that has a symbiotic relationship with certain trees such as the oak, which help them obtain water in drought, boost their immune systems, helps them obtain nutrients from the soil, and even acts as a communication system between trees via the roots they connect to.  Oak trees supported by mycorrhizal fungi are resistant to disease and grow faster.

I shall this evening visit a local oak wood to obtain soil with the mycorrhizal fungus in it, then “infect” the soil in the plant pots which my oak saplings are growing in.  In theory I will use nature to assist in the survival and growth of my oak saplings.

Intervention and the steward

The role and drama of a steward in nature.

The cat Pebbles is incredibly brave or stupid decided to pick a fight with my local fox Amber, I intervened to prevent injury.

The cat Pebbles is incredibly brave or stupid decided to pick a fight with my local fox Amber, I intervened to prevent injury.

All people are responsible for something in life, which might be your own body, a family or a class of students.  You are a steward, your role is protection, guidance and enhancement of that which you steward.

I am currently a steward of a small garden in Colchester visited by many plants and animals.  As steward I attempt to bring about prosperity for all my stakeholders, the plants and animals that visit my garden, their health, happiness and abundance.  It is the nature of my diverse stakeholders that they often conflict, the cats will hunt the birds for example.

As steward I provide opportunity to my stakeholders of prosperity, for instance I provide fresh water and various foods for birds.  I follow the rule of liberty, allowing all my stakeholders the liberty to follow their natures without control, unless they do harm to others, which is when I will intervene.  An example was the larger birds bullying the smaller birds for the “fat balls,” so I enhanced their opportunities by providing the smaller birds with a special feeder with a cage that blocked the larger birds but allowed the smaller birds access to their own fatballs.

Our cat Helix is an effective hunter of birds and mice.  Yesterday morning I chased Helix around the garden to save a blue tit, on this occasion unsuccessfully as she fled into a neighbour garden.  I hold no anger for Helix, since it is the nature of cats to hunt, though I do intervene to save the birds she catches.

As the sun set I sat and enjoyed the happiness in my garden, a blackbird singing in the tree above me.  A spider hung out its web waiting for the abundant gnats.  The helicopter-like buzzing of the rare endangered stag beetles moving around in the air looking for a mate, procreation being always evident in the activities of plant and animal in nature.  My other cat Pebbles sat at my feet also watching the day fall away into night.

Amber the fox appeared in the darkness of the garden, walked up two arm lengths from me, stopped and looked at Pebbles.  The cat Pebbles hissed, the fox took steps closer to Pebbles and attacked.  I intervened and shouted at the fox which yelped and fled, Pebbles fled in another direction, I never saw both again that night.  Then the bats came out, oblivious of the drama below them.

Sustainable with nature

Sustainability is action in harmony with nature.

Amber asleep in my garden today.

Amber asleep in my garden today.

I needed my bike, then found Amber the fox sleeping near it this morning.  This is one of those moments of conflict between me and nature.  I choose to let Amber sleep undisturbed for an hour, the fox then vanishes as suddenly and mysteriously as it appeared.  What I practice is sustainability, action in harmony with nature.  I accommodated the fox in my decision-making, and now will make sure my bike is in a place where I can get to it without conflicting with Amber.

For lack of words I describe animals and plants as naïve, for they choose to situate themselves in places and situations without awareness of the potential conflicts with humanity.  A small bee colony chooses my garden shed as its home, the bees are unaware of the potential problems they might cause if that part of the shed needs access by humans.  A blue tit decides to select a metal box designed for disposal of cigarette butts by people in flats as a nest.  When I visit, I hear chirps in the box, I look in through the hole and see hungry young blue tits calling for food from parents that constantly move backwards and forwards from the nest.  I hope the people in the flats have accommodated the blue tit family in their decision-making.

Because plants and animals are naïve, the onus is upon humanity, who can see the greater picture, to work in harmony with nature in their activities.  Wind farms with their great turbines may seem a great idea, but they kill vast numbers of birds who come into contact with the turbines.  The same goes for solar farms that cook birds to death.  The birds are naïve, they are unable to understand the hidden dangers of wind and solar farms; humanity can understand, better design, and use innovations to create wind and solar farms that are safe to birds.

Responsibility starts and ends with humanity to act in harmony with nature, for plants and animals are naïve and are unable to understand the dangers that humanity creates for them.

Leaving things be

Letting things be allows nature to manifest its will and wisdom.

Left to be this apple blossom in my garden will manifest its will to bloom and its wisdom in the form of apples in the autumn.

With no intervention this apple blossom in my garden will manifest its will to bloom and liberate its wisdom in the form of apples in the autumn.

I am camping and I pitched my tent near an ant’s nest.  It is disconcerting as I write this to watch the foraging ants by the twos and threes invading my tent through the entrance.  It makes me itch and I worry for my laptop.  The ants are wandering around all around the inside of my tent, though their invading numbers remain small.

The spiders taught me to let the ants be.  Having spent some time evicting sixteen spiders one day from my tent, I decided to let the spiders be, it is too much trouble, more so evicting ants. Occasionally I have to intervene as I tried to evict the small frogs during a rainy night, which I chased round my tent in failing torchlight, I did not fancy squashing them in my sleep.  Generally it is too much trouble forcing my will upon unwilling animals and plants who want to express their own spirited natures in the spaces I share with them.

Non-intervention is a growing interest of mine, letting things be, to flow according to their own will.  Sustainability for me is about action in harmony with nature, so if there is no harm to me, why force my will upon animals and plants?  Indeed, the doors of wisdom open wide if I allow nature to flow in its own liberated way; a bee flew to my foot and then away into a crack in the ground, thus I learn I have a small bee nest in the garden.

Sharing breakfast with blackbirds

Sharing with nature.

Blackbird in song.

Blackbird in song.

Each morning in the last week I start the day writing a blog post that appears one or two days ahead, it is Sunday.  I sit as the cat Pebbles washes herself in another seat, I think I shall put names on the seats: “Alex’s seat”; “Pebbles seat.”  Pebbles is now enraptured with a plump pigeon walking around outside the window, her ideal breakfast.

I no longer cook, something I have not done for over four months since the fried puffball I foraged by a river.  The morning breakfast consisted of sardines, milk, digestives and a Scottish drink called Irn-bru.

I usually crumble one digestive and scatter it on the grass in the garden, an offering to the birds.  This morning there appeared in the trees both a female and male blackbird who took an interest in the digestive I had scattered upon the grass.  There were other blackbirds on a shed roof behind conifers, at least two young fledglings that the parent blackbirds were feeding, taking bits of biscuit to them.  I scattered more digestives upon the ground, so sharing breakfast with a family of blackbirds until they were no longer hungry, vanishing to their home nearby.

Wisdom from snails

Do action in harmony with nature.

I attempt to accommodate other living things in my actions, including snails.

I attempt to accommodate other living things in my actions, including snails.

After two weeks of drought, it rains.  The snails sail forth en masse in the darkness, it is mating time.  In my ignorance I fail to see the snails, three die before I cast my torch-light upon the silent population on the ground, but not before a fourth dies on the grass that my torch-light did not see.  Thus the light of wisdom shines forth in my mind as my torch picks up the invisible living creatures before me, that after rain in the darkness snails will seek to mate, and I must with greater care place my feet.

Earlier in the day I walked past a dead pigeon, the latest casualty of billions of animals that die from collisions with vehicles on the roads.  It takes hundreds to thousands of years for animals and plants to adapt to changing environments, changes that are often slow in coming, but they are unable to adapt to the fast changes of humanity, the motorcar invented a hundred years before, followed by car parking and roads that cover former living grounds of nature in tarmac.

Animals such as the snail and pigeon only understand a part of their world, one born of instinct, unfamiliar to the ways of humanity.  It is for humans with their greater understanding of the world we share with plants and animals to adapt and accommodate the living things around us, for they are unable to, and they suffer from our indifferent attitudes.  It is for me to place my feet carefully in the dark after rain, for the snail has no ability or understanding of the dangers of my feet to them.  I define sustainability as action in harmony with nature, and so I must harmonise my actions with the snail to tread with care so that snails may live.