Today, the 1st June, marks the start of ‘30 Days Wild’. This is an initiative run by The Wildlife Trusts, designed to encourage us to spend time reconnecting with nature. I am pleased to be signed up, and am going to be taking part both with my son and when he is with his father. We spend a lot of time outdoors, and will be using this stimulus to do more. I’ll be sharing some of our adventures here. Green spaces are my Space to Breathe, so expect lots of excited posts about time spent in nature.
As a species, I think we have somewhat lost this connection with nature. We live in houses made from man-made materials, as are the clothes we wear. We travel in metal boxes on roads that used to be green spaces. We live, many of us, in cities where we aren’t even connected to our human community, not to mention the wider Earth community. The food many of us eat would be unrecognisable as such, even to my grandparents’ generation.
We are, astonishingly, one of an estimated 8.7 million species on this planet, and we sometimes behave, as a collective, not as individuals, as if we are the only one that matters.
And yet, not only are we a thread in the beautiful tapestry of life on earth, we depend on all the other threads for our survival. The natural world is, despite what we may think as a society, stronger than us, and we need to live in harmony with it. We are not independent of nature. We are part of nature, and are completely dependent on the wellbeing of the planet for our own wellbeing.
Nature doesn’t need people – people need nature; nature would survive the extinction of the human being and go on just fine, but human culture, human beings, cannot survive without nature. Harrison Ford
This can be seen very powerfully in the profound symbiotic relationship we have with trees.
When we breathe, we breathe in oxygen. This is needed by every single one of our 3.72 trillion cells for healthy functioning. Without enough oxygen, we get sick. We can even die.
When we breathe out, we exhale carbon dioxide. This is the waste from our breath, and we need to eliminate most of it or it becomes toxic to our bodies, and can also make us ill.
Clearly, with an estimated 7.7 billion humans on the planet, not to mention all the other species that are inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, we need an effective filtration system to ensure that there is enough oxygen, and to remove the carbon dioxide from the air.
In praise of trees
Trees and other green plants produce oxygen as part of their respiratory system. They breathe out what we need to breathe in. They take the carbon dioxide in the air, mix it with water, sunlight, and chlo
rophyll in their leaves, and turn it into food for their own sustenance (which we animals also benefit from), and oxygen.
Trees literally clean the air we are breathing in. In big cities, trees are used to reduce the impact of cars and other forms of air pollution. There are numerous other ways that trees are pivotal in the wellbeing of not just humans, but the global environment as a whole.
Trees are not merely resources we can plunder and destroy, although there are those in the world who see it like that. I always loved the fact that in Lord of the Rings, the Ents, the wise ancient Shepherds of the Trees, were the ones who destroyed the fortress of Saruman, the wizard who sided with Sauron to destroy Middle Earth. Sauron had been cutting down trees in vast numbers to make weapons, and the Ents took action against him. Trees are very generous in what they give to us humans, they literally provide us with the air we need to breathe, and so much more. But we aren’t the only species they support. How greedy a species are we to take so much at the expense of so many. Including ourselves. The way we humans treat the planet is the ultimate act of self harm, we are destroying the very world that allows us to live.
Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting a tree is simple.
Action needs to be taken if we are to change things. There is a rising movement working to tackle climate change and the environental destruction we have unleashed on the world.
My dream with Space to Breathe is to empower one million women to transform their lives and their world by learning to breathe. I know that powerful transformation is possible when you learn to breathe. And when one person transforms themself, they transform the world around them.
But learning to breathe well is going to be futile if the air we are breathing is toxic to us. I was recently introduced to a global community of women called TreeSisters. TreeSisters is a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care (taken from their website). I am still exploring their work, but have decided to register to be a ‘WaterCarrier’, and donate a percentage of my business income to this project. I will be sending them 10% of my profits each month, so when you work with me, you will be helping to support not only your own wellbeing but the wellbeing of us all. You can find out more about Treesisters here, and become a Treesister yourself.