3 ways to embrace nature as a family in a busy world

3 ways to embrace nature as a family in a busy world

Busy is as busy does – and these days, life is busy all over the place, which leaves us with very few hours in the day to fully embrace nature. From the moment our dreams are abruptly ended by the sound of the alarm, as […]

Be the #sustainablechange – Poetry inspired by the environment

Be the #sustainablechange – Poetry inspired by the environment

Poems are strings of wordswith hidden meanings.Gently whisper the soundsof handwritten thoughtsand they come to lifeupon your very breath.Be careful of the messages you speak,they will echo for generations to come,and they may just come true… Poetry inspired by the environment expresses overflowing feelings in […]

Why bother about trees

Why bother about trees

Why bother filling our lungs with fresh air….

Why bother to quench our thirst with clean water…

Why seek cool shade in the scorching heat of the sun…

Why look for diversity when plain is so comfortably familiar…

Why inspire ourselves and our youth by all-sensory immersion, when so much is offered for our fingertips in two dimensions…

All these questions are but variations on the same theme. And the common answer could be summed up by a revealing brief remark:

Us humans seem to forever suffer from a continuous clash between the amnesia of the conscious mind and the extremely long-term memory of the subconscious.

In order to be able to perform well at our daily tasks, we keep focus close to our nose-tip and – apart from the specialist few – the majority of us rarely look back.

The subconscious, our instincts and intuition, however, if I may lump these all together as the carriers of evolutionary imprints, constantly nag us with reminders, notes of emotions, feelings of an ever more distant past, a near-paradisiacal environment here on Earth, which pointers the rational mind disputes as anything relevant in contemporary life and incessantly sweeps them off the retina of our third eye.

We tend to believe in gods, the results of cultures-wide self-suggested abstractions as reality, but doubt our very true common memories, a communion shared between more than just us humans, but all coexisting animate beings.

As far as we are concerned, we attribute this immaterial intelligence to air, water and rocks alike.

And, as fate would have it, no other animate being doubts these distant memories outside of Homo sapiens that we have become.

Affiliating ourselves intensely enough with a common origin, so that it, once again, irrefutably gets registered in our conscious mind, this “rational” mind no longer questioning the extreme virtue of intuition along with the emotional images it evokes, we can learn how to summon these images intentionally and with that inspiration get back to our terrestrial roots, the forests.

Of course, researchers can prove in thousands of scientific works the near coast-to-coast existence of mature forest ecosystems on all continents (save the polar-most regions), prior to the appearance and slow creeping ahead of humans in those habitats. As is the case with climate change research and the human-triggered acceleration factors within the change, despite the well-intentioned dissemination of concerns in media organs positioned closer and closer to mainstream, the widest societal groups are still reluctant to assume personal responsibility for counteracting global warming.

People continue to be aghast on the surface, but apathetic, impassive and utterly ignorant in real terms.

Now, it could be the case that the doings of climate, like the unpredictable weather patterns, are a realm of overwhelming complexity for the human mind, conscious or subconscious, to understand. As animate beings we have never had to directly deal with such powers.

The forests, however, we have directly dealt with for countless millennia, almost always to their detriment. We have tried hard, more recently, to make excuses in the hindsight as for why it was practically inevitable, given the development of our brain and social traits, to slash and burn the dense forests, hunt down its beasts, especially its fearsome megafauna, exploit its soils and forge ahead applying the same tried-and-tested blueprint. Extremely destructive, yes, at the same time acting in rational self-interest, as modern economists might say.

Our interpretation, by contrast, is irrational self-interest, a non-understanding prompted by forgetting how nature works and what our limitations are, that they have to be set way-way below nature’s regenerative limits. A matter of intuitive self-moderation.

Of course, this might have inflicted incomparably slower processes of climate changes than the one we are witnessing at present. Climate had changed before, since the formative years of the human race, and these changes must have engaged in a feedback-loop response system given to human deforestation activities, reinforcing soil impoverishment, indeed desertification and the associated heat and drought extremities. Think of the Sahara, the Australian deserts and possibly the Gobi rock desert of inner Asia.

There have been examples, though, to a fairly early adoption of tribal practices, that after the extirpation of the largest fauna (a big enough grief for the Earth by itself), managed to keep humans in relative harmony with their forested habitat. In some instances this equilibrium of sorts has lasted virtually to present day. Such have been certain Native American tribes in North America and some secluded tribes of Amazonia.

These, and similar peoples dotting the globe, knew a lot better than the vast majority of Earth’s human population why to bother about not only select trees, but entire forests.

They were not the ones sailing and sinking them to ocean floors, burning them mercilessly to clear space for densely populated settlements, monoculture type crops, but neither were them who sacrificed the dark and prolific mystery of forests to the forward-march of a light-thirsty Christianity.

None of these offenders – often colonizing the more agreeable temperate zone regions, where it also happens that nature’s self-regeneration takes longer than in the rainforests of tropical climates – hastened to replace what they denuded from the landscape.

Historians know of times and places where large and wasteful ornamental gardens were created, not uncommonly to juxtapose surrounding barrenness with the incorporated fertile fantasy that wealth and wealth alone can create. Good taste, not brute Nature.

But with the massive reforesting projects in human history, much to its shameful, regretful narrow-mindedness, we had to wait – how ironic – until the communist totalitarian political regimes of the second half of the 20th century, like in Mao’s China or Ceaușescu’s Romania.

The British Isles were shipped and “sheeped” barron, likewise Ancient Greece, the Dinaric Alps of Croatia and much of the Italian or Iberian peninsulas. As if without regrets. And what do we celebrate today in these places?

The Acropolis and the white-walled blue-topped houses against a scampy scrub in Greece; limestone outcroppings in Croatia; in Tuscany the Lombardy poplars lining the roads; the Don Quixotean mirage vibrating over a scorched Spain; the bluebells and heather tinting England and Scotland, amongst the semi-desertous green of overgrazed paddocks.

So, let’s start awakening, healing from our universal human amnesia.

Do not only look back a couple of generations and name them the “good old days”, wishing we were there once again.

Oh, no! We ought to heed our subconscious inclinations that draw us back so irresistibly, even if in tremor before their mystery, to the old-growth forests providing shade, shelter, crystal-clean spring waters and streams, food to forage for, above all oxygen to feed our bloodstream and our progeny’s.

We want those forests back because it’s in all of our interest to have its wild inhabitants roam and buzz around in a teeming harmony. With ourselves among them, not aside in an apartheid way.

Native forests are to re-emerge at a fast rate, because history has taught us it’s safer within than without.

To prevent devastating floods and landslides from happening, also to anchor the banks of our rivers. Forests attract precipitation, but they also let the water through at a much lower intensity, distributing runoff the most evenly.

Burning wood for fire has remained the sustainable way to heat and cook over – where there are forests to selectively cut from, that is. Peat or dung are pitiful proxies by comparison, coal is a no-go, while propane-methane make you vulnerable to entities controlling the turn-on/turn-off valve.

Forests with the cumulative soothing energy of the trees, are places to bathe your body and soul as over-urbanized Japanese have learned.

In the woods, one is constantly stimulated, aesthetically pleased, it’s an environment that is highly inspirational for all art forms and more: artisans will find all the diverse materials and creative sparks they can dream of.

Forests heal through and through!

They promote slow living and that’s exactly what our world needs, right now more than ever.

There can never be too many trees on the planet. Do your share of planting.

You can also rely on us to further Oxygenate the Earth. Find out how on forestcreekmeadows.com/plant-trees.

Choose the countryside for a sustainable life

Choose the countryside for a sustainable life

I went back to town, running some errands, when in the lobby of a department store I reposed a bit and pondered at the regular shoppers pushing their brimming carts through the doorway… Fifteen years ago, my wife and I were just like them, in […]

5 lessons kids can learn from eco-minimalism

5 lessons kids can learn from eco-minimalism

It has been said that a child’s memory, subconscious mind, is heavily imprinted before the age of 7 or 8, regarding all issues, great and small. With kind words and patience, if we shift the focus from what we can teach to what they can […]

Our commitment to sustainability

Our commitment to sustainability

Sustainability – in Roland’s words:

You know love, right? You must be familiar with this emotion, because you are here now, soaking these words in, out of attachment and concern, so out of deep care.

It may seem as a banal statement that there is no love without respect. That it is conceivable to respect without love, we would readily nod: “yes, sure”, even though we know that such respect is fear driven, which is the wrong kind of energetic field, something unhealthy and spiritually counterproductive to be in. Not something you want to foster or be part of.

Love, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, that we – in great excess of just wanting – necessitate more, rather than less of. We need love to feel complete and one with the universe. Regardless how subconscious, it is our connection point to a benevolent order.

Now, we all know how much we have disturbed, deranged our relation to this benevolent universal order. While the order itself hasn’t moved out of its dynamic constancy at all, our rapport has disfigured, has corrupted towards it.

What has happened for far too many millennia now, is that we have been withdrawing this all-encompassing “wholesale” love-respect and, for selfish, crazy-abstract and typical-to-our-species-alone reasons, we have been trading it piecemeal for “retail-market” love gains. Of course it was a fallacy to believe that we could ever withdraw from the universal love, yet we have acted as if so – in almost total ignorance.

Here we are, following this status report, you and us arduously wanting to return into the primordial embrace, however return not naively, but with the wisdom that allows not for future self-betrayal.

Because sustainability is a one-way path, at times going with, at others against gravity, yet a path of no return. A comforting rather than squeezy feeling.

The key is to reignite our love and respect toward the earthly embodiment of the universe. It’s our test relationship: if we can accept the Earth’s love and can respect Gaia for what it is, our cradle, our nurturer, our home and constant transformer, then we can realign ourselves with the laws of the Universe.

To spark love or for it to be rekindled, the parties need to be intimately together. And the emphasis is on intimacy. Because it is in intimacy where hearts can touch. Togetherness alone is insufficient. Knowing the other with our minds is not enough either. We have to feel (for) each other.

Have you ever felt like literally falling on your belly on a piece of land in your love for it? If so, revisit those moments and what they felt like – bask in them.

Conjure up more moments of such emotional charge towards land, the Earth. Feel the free-fall before it. Because it is exactly this fall that will make you rise as a spiritual being, like all other non-human creatures in your eyesight and beyond.

Fall to rise! Be humbled by first, to be able to get strong through the same love. As in our human lovelives.

Our commitment to sustainable living is precisely this unconditioned love for the Earth: air, water, rocks, soil and everything moving through them, prey and predator alike.

This is a gentle, non-aggressive, non-domineering love which recognizes that we are all one and inseparable. Very much like seeing the sea in a drop of water and the sea is you in that drop.

Worms and Honey, by Csermely Magyar (age 8)

The birds fly high in the sky,

you never know where

and you never know why.

They search far and wide,

for worms to hide.

To take them home,

while the bears eat the honeycomb.

What it means to live sustainably, in Cheryl’s words:

The year is 2019, and there is plenty of talk about climate change and what we should be doing to prevent the environmental disasters soon to be caused by rising temperatures around the globe. There are even climate change deniers who see what they want to see – that there are more than enough fossil fuels to exploit for years to come.

But for how many years will there be enough? For how many people will there be enough? How much are we willing to waste away in the blind pursuit of a so-called better life – thinking only of the here and now?

Why must we be so greedy – in matters of food, clothing, electricity, transportation, little luxuries that make us feel better about ourselves? More of everything and faster inflow… without a care of saving for the future.

Garbage and clutter, often one and the same, are things that we humans all have, and we all produce. We are like no other species on earth. We create spectacular objects from chemical compositions, only to say that they are not good enough, they can be better, so let’s try and try again, lightly tossing the “old” away.

As it turns out, some of the best materials for building and crafting objects for the home are still the natural ones – wood, stone, clay and glass. For thousands of years we could live perfectly fine without plastic. But now, that we have it, well, we certainly take full advantage. Now, I’m not saying that plastic shouldn’t have been invented, yet at the same time, who gave us the right to mistreat it? We easily toss the “one-time use” into the ditches (as if it was an apple core), waterways and eventually the ocean, mostly not on purpose, though it ends up in strange places all the time.

proudly walking barefoot in an organic cotton dress

Think about it, even the plastic soles of our shoes are distancing our connection to nature. Once we put on shoes, to protect our feet from broken glass and scraps of metal, we also take away our ability to ground – or to be connected with the healing and restorative energies of the Earth

How are we to love the land if we are constantly, and in some cases intentionally, separating ourselves from the very soil that provides for us? Even the majority of food comes from the store, arriving there by truck from large farms. It is less and less the case that food is grown in backyards – planted, harvested and touched by human hands.

Our common journey of living a sustainable life, one lived closer to nature, started more than 17 years ago with our marriage. The unshakeable roots of sustainability took hold during our childhoods.

Even though I grew up in a suburb, my sisters and I were outside many days, either swimming or climbing trees, we spent many nights camped out in the backyard, sitting by the campfire and gazing up at the stars. As a family we hiked in state parks and nature reserves, spending quality time in nature, together.

I was a Girl Scout from the ages of 6 till 18, learning essential skills to be in and to protect nature. I’ve spent countless hours and endless miles hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The desire to preserve nature is in my bones, and I take it with me wherever I go.

Here, in northern Romania, is the place we call home. It may be far from where I grew up, yet it is on this Earth where I live – and no matter where I am in the world, I am at home.

It goes without saying that sustainability starts at home. Regardless where you live, taking up space on this wonderful planet, it is your responsibility to take care of it for future generations. Many times it is the little things you do everyday, that cultivate the impact of our lives.

We talk about #climateaction, but what do we do about it? Personally, we have chosen to have one child, or rather, she has solely chosen us to be her parents. We have become eco-minimalists together – and at some moments in our journey owning and carrying all what fit into our backpacks. Now that we have settled on a homestead once again, we have acquired what we need for effortless, thriving survival, not one bucket more.

We homeschool, we work from home and we haven’t owned a car for more than 12 years – instead we walk most places, taking public transportation when necessary. We’ve made the pledge to not fly, to help reduce carbon emissions around the world, we also plant native trees to oxygenate the air and stabilize the soil. We eat locally, grow some of our own food in our organic garden amongst the back meadow, and will soon raise our own grass-fed meat again. We forage for wild nutrients to add to our diet, we gave up mass produced gluteny grains more than 6 years ago, we brush our teeth with roots and twigs, carry our groceries in 10000x reusable backpacks – all the while without running water or a fridge in our house.

There are ways around everything if you sit in quiet contemplation and think about them for a while.

We all have sustainable choices to make – and it does matter where, and how, we put our feet down in this world. Our sustainable actions may not be your sustainable actions, yet we all must take action – to be the change that we want to see in the world.

Every straw you refuse does matter, every handsewn cloth bag you take to the market does too. Grow your own squash, bring in your own eggs, sew your own leather shoes or carve a wooden spoon. The world needs eco-artisans now more than ever. Stop buying into the mass-produced-plastic-fast-fashion craze and get back to the basics of materials such as hemp, linen and organic cotton. Now is the time to design your sustainable life!

2019 has just begun. Where will it take you?