“IMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE. This is our moment. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid.” - www.worldenvironmentday.global
These beautiful words for the 2021 World Environment Day theme ask us all to ‘take a moment’ to ‘make peace with nature’ on June 5th. What does this call to ‘make peace with nature’ mean for me? My special place is the Blue Gum forest in Kenthurst, this picture was taken on an Earth Day 2021 walk with friends, the majestic Eucalyptus saligna trees in the background. My moment is to commit to doing more forest bathing with my trees.
In our green calendar we have just celebrated Earth Day and we are heading to celebrate NAIDOC week with the theme Heal Country. What are these calls saying to us? I believe it is to make peace with nature.
There is the saying ‘you can’t have peace without justice’. So is this a time to really listen to the cry of the earth to grow our ecological justice practice within our lives. To build our skills in growing our ecological consciousness, so we can make peace with nature. It has been interesting building skills to deeply listen to nature with Andrew Skeoch.
I am hearing the call for us to consider how to be a Regen culture and as environmental educators.
“Healthier and happy land, healthier and happy farmer, healthier and happy community and healthier bank balance. Regenerative farming is the way forward for balancing human needs and gifts with planetary needs and gifts. A perfect balance of reciprocity for Earth and humanity.” - Jen Ringbauer.
For me I am hearing the call from a fellow environmental educator Erika Van Schellebeck who is calling us to be leaders to help create immediate and decisive change for a safe climate future, especially as we build our actions to respond to COP26. See our Climate Crisis Resources Hub.
In my work as the ecology project officer for the Australian Jesuit Province I often use the exercise to go out and ‘befriend a tree’ as a way to build our ecological consciousness. Befriending a tree has elements of deep ecology that was part of our formation as environmental educators and still continues today with the work of John Seed. Is it a tool for our work to “help people live more sustainably and protect and enhance the local environment”, from our AAEE NSW mission statement? Befriending a tree is a practice described by Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder who encourages us to “Broaden your perspective of place through the simple practice of befriending a tree.”
I have been developing a 10 Ways to care for nature, which include:
- Love where you are e.g. create community gardens, Bee & Bee highway project www.ps.org.au/
- Work with local “care” groups e.g. local Bushcare or Landcare groups
- Build eco citizens in your community e.g. Connect with the SDG’s
- Learn from science and make deep connections locally e.g. promote citizen science activities like Streamwatch
- Create a Green calendar e.g. Clean Up Australia day & National Tree Day
- Share the Good News in your bulletins / newsletter e.g. brand and broadcast
- Be an active voice for biodiversity e.g. help declare a climate emergency
- Seek wisdom from the Elders e.g. build Caring for Country cultural ways
- Celebrate Nature in your programs e.g. be an advocate for REGEN ways
- Just enjoy nature e.g. create an Environment Walk, listen to the sound of nature
This World Environment Day how will you take a moment to make peace with nature?