Category Archives: Sustainablity

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.

Where they belong

All things have their place of belonging.

My early morning alarm clock.

My early morning alarm clock.

I was camping in the garden this morning, I awake by the banging of a fence, then something heavy lands on top of the tent, then the animal heads noisily for a nearby tree.  My organic alarm clock is next seen on top of the shed as I irritably stick my head out of the tent to glare at the pigeon.  Time flies, I slept through the night without waking.  It is before 7am.

I water my three oak saplings, the curled leaves firming like the sails of a windmill in the early morning sun.  I water ten pots of soil, the invisible locus of ten acorns that I despair may never awaken.

I find the container for a bird bath, fill it with water and place it on the bird bath.  All things have their belonging, the container and bird bath are once more reunited after a long absence for enjoyment of birds.  I reunite random scattered pots together in their collective home.

It is crazy that one is so happy about fox poop, but the evidence near the oak saplings tells me Amber the fox is around.  I am working out if a location behind the fence is a fox burrow, a tennis ball is at its entrance, a fox chew toy? I placed a digestive biscuit at the entrance yesterday to see if it would vanish, the biscuit appears to have gone.  To be certain I place two more digestive biscuits at the entrance, I will wait until tomorrow to see if these too will vanish**. Perhaps Amber has found a place of belonging behind my fence.  I crush a third digestive and scatter it on the grass, the birds seem delighted.

** I wrote this article yesterday, the two biscuits vanished in the night when I checked them this morning.

Greenshoots

The cycle of life and death in nature.

A storm killed the parent tree last year in Colchester, its children live on.

A storm killed the parent tree last year in Colchester, its children live on.

In October last year I wrote about the loss of my soul mate an oak tree called the “Castle Tree” killed by a UK storm.  I rescued thirteen acorns from around the fallen tree, planting them in pots hoping that I could salvage something from the death of the tree. In the last few days three oak saplings have appeared in the pots.  I have witnessed the cycle of death and life via the “Castle Tree” and its children.

Sustainability and climate change

Consumers are sustainable if offered incentives and benefits.

Offering people a benefit or incentive to become sustainable works.

Offering people a benefit or incentive to become sustainable is the only way to achieve positive outcomes on climate change.

Early morning, and chaos.  Builders are putting up scaffolding around my house, it is chaos.  The cat is sick over my laptop bag.  I escape and wait for the local library to open.  A passerby comments that I had not done my homework last night, I blink a few times, do I look that young? In the library, panic as someone cannot find their bag they left a few minutes before; the library staff had taken the bag thinking it is a bomb.  My cellphone rings, a customer wants me to deal with a last-minute project.  Welcome to my chaos.

Amongst all this chaos the media, politician and activist bombard the consumers with messages of fear and doom of global warming.  Everybody is by now jaded, one more item of fear and manipulation in a tsunami of fear and marketing that daily seeks entrance to overstimulated minds.  Important perhaps to academics in their ivory towers, and rulers who see a good thing in marketing fear, the common person on the street has to live their lives, and their attention is upon mundane activities like paying the rent and getting their kids off to school.  Climate change is at the bottom of the list of concerns of everyday people, along with the rest of the fear-monsters of everyday life.

The scaffolding around my home is part of an interesting social experiment in sustainability.  Solar panels will appear upon the roof of my house, part of a scheme that though underwritten by a loan, will start to make money.  The solar panels offer free electricity during the day, my home only pays for the electricity at night.  My home sells the excess electricity it makes to the electricity companies who run the national power grid.  It is a win-win situation, a reduction in electricity bills, a scheme that will pay for itself, and the government-electricity companies paying the consumer for the electricity their solar panels sell to the electricity grid.

It is no point hoping for change in consumer habits by top-down control and fear marketing.  Offer the consumer a benefit, something that satisfies a need, such as the scheme my house is now involved in, the sustainable activities will drive a change in behavior, thus achieve positive outcomes the advocates of climate change desire.

Sustainable decision making

Small changes have major impacts to an ecosystem.

This tiny UFO on the ground is a rare glowworm.  Nobody knew these glowworms existed in Gosbecks in Colchester until I discovered them by chance.  Glowworms will benefit from street lights being switched off in Colchester, they also prefer long grass, so are impacted by people cutting grass.

This tiny UFO on the ground is a rare glowworm. Nobody knew these glowworms existed in Gosbecks in Colchester until I discovered them by chance. Glowworms will benefit from street lights being switched off in Colchester; they also prefer long grass, so people impact glowworms when they cut the grass.

A report revealed that noise can impact both plants and animals, changing the entire ecosystem they inhabit as a consequence.  My town of Colchester can no longer afford the electricity for street lights, so they turn most of them off at night, which is a boon for wildlife, because artificial lighting impacts their natural cycles; the local rare glowworm population in Colchester will benefit.

Introduce a new cat into a garden and there will be an impact upon the local rodent and bird population, and a knock-on impact upon plants and animals related to the rodent and bird activities.  Even the local cats change due to the new felid addition, changing the behavior as a result, which impacts everything else they interact with.

When much of the agricultural land in the UK is a desolate wasteland thanks to European rules many animals and plants suffer, bees starve.  Ironically the love of the British for their gardens offer a refuge for bees and birds who might otherwise starve in the countryside.  Grave yards, railway and motorway embankments undisturbed by humanity become the new homes of every refugee plant and animal.

I hope that one day my definition for sustainability: “action in harmony with nature,” is universally adopted and then implemented in all decision-making.

Using nature as your friend

You can turn nature to your advantage.

Bees have hidden advantages of providing a natural biological barrier to large animals such as elephants.

Bees have hidden advantages of providing a natural biological barrier to large animals such as elephants.

I now define sustainability as “action in harmony with nature.”  This definition of sustainability I use in forming policy and procedure in running my business.  I attempt to integrate sustainability into the core of my business, and to a certain extent into my life.

I consider that for every challenge a solution is found in nature.  All action can incorporate nature in the solution.  I offer an example of a challenge that farmers face with wild elephants who destroy home, crop and life.  The usual solution against an elephant that is destroying life, employment and home is to shoot it dead.

The sustainable solution is find an answer in nature that allows an elephant its life but protects the farmer from a rampaging elephant.  An article here provides an amazing solution – bees.  A series of fences with bee hives attached protects the farmer from elephants, who not only dislike going near bees but warn their fellows to keep away too.  In addition the hives increase insect-pollinated crops by 30% yield and provide honey for the farmers to sell.  The sustainable solution fits the definition “action in harmony with nature”; it is a win-win solution for everyone.

Acorns to Oak trees

Everything works to its own timing.

Acorns work at their own pace emerging as an oak sapling many months after falling to the ground.

Acorns work at their own pace emerging as an oak sapling many months after falling to the ground.

After a storm brought down a great oak tree last October in Colchester I salvaged thirteen acorns and planted them.  I won’t see anything emerge from these acorns until spring, since they are waiting out the winter before emerging.  Acorns like everything in nature work according to their own clock, they will emerge as oak saplings at their own moment and pace.

Humanity live in a fast paced world, a delusion that the individual can achieve instant gratification of any desire: lose weight, swallow a magic pill; instant fortune, buy a lottery ticket; new expensive gadget, buy it on credit.  Humanity has a foolish opinion contrary to nature that everything desirable can like magic instantly appear, though many corporates promote this delusion with destructive consequences to self, society and the environment.

The individual can learn from the acorn, that everything in reality moves slowly at its own pace:  better to lose weight over time; spend a couple of years achieving prosperity; saving up for a desired gadget.

I patiently wait for the oak saplings to emerge many months from now from the acorns I planted.  My major business investment in a project staggered over many months rather than seeking a loan, a proverbial acorn becoming an oak tree at its own pace.  Human civilisation and this planet would benefit from learning from the cycles of nature, that all has its moment, its own pace, its own cycle.

Enhance your life

Improve the processes of your life to enhance your life.

Like the spider you can weave a web of enhancements to a prosperous life.

Like the spider you can weave a web of enhancements to a prosperous life.

I am in the closing stages of my anti-clutter project that has reduced my belongings by a third. When the individual faces a task like decluttering their life it is like facing a monster the size of the local mountain, better to hit a monster-project in stages, an enhancement each day. My declutter project lasted two months and two weeks, a series of small improvements each day.  I enhanced my life by my daily improvements of eliminating clutter.

The theory

When the individual wakes up each day they do a series of actions such as wash and have breakfast before they begin the day.  These morning actions are often routine, carried out with no thought.  In the mind of the individual each action has a goal, and a desired result.  The morning routine is a process of actions, and the processes of the whole day might be thought of as a system.

The processes and their results converge becoming a sense of the individual’s daily life experience.  In theory most individuals desire a life of prosperity, which is health, happiness and abundance such as abundant friends, food and money.  In addition I consider that prosperity is relative to living a sustainable life, which I define as doing action in harmony with nature, thus living in a house built on a flood plain might undermine prosperity as it conflicts with nature that will cause floods that damage the home.  An action such as exercise is in harmony with nature for the body loves motion.

The practice

If the individual considers their life experience is relative to the system of processes and the results of their processes, and that prosperity is the desirable outcome of daily activity, then the individual can map out every process of their life, the goals and the results of their daily actions.  If for example the individual is overweight, then the individual can map out the processes that contribute to the weight problem, and the individual can modify, add to, or delete to the processes to change the result to a healthier weight.

Consider that each new major change in life is like climbing a mountain, thus approach the project with a series of small enhancements each day, a mountain journey broken down into steps.  The human mind and body dislikes major change, preferring small changes.  The Japanese concept of Kaizen, which in its modern context means continuous improvement, is a good approach to all the processes of life.

Everything in nature are in a state of becoming, now, in the present.  For individual prosperity, approaching each moment of becoming in daily life with a series of continuous improvements is better than a life of unchanging stagnation.