I have recently had cause to reflect upon my first travelling adventures, starting in my early 20s. They were primarily focused in Asia - for no loftier a purpose than following my teenage dreams of cheap and abundant cannabis - but I soon outgrew that motivation, and found myself living upon a forested mountainside for seasons on end. Time has revealed that the importance of this phase was not just daily contact with nature - battling the monkeys for my banana stash, and planting enough papayas to share with the parrots - but more so, the inherently sustainable factors, like carrying one’s drinking water, fresh food, and kerosine for the lamps to have a life after sundown.
Since then, my studies into health, permaculture, sustainable community , have made their recent bursting into mainstream awareness due to Climate Change make more sense to me than most, because of these early experiences that set my philosophy, my direction, and my path without me really noticing.
Since that time, my life has been about using less of everything. From fuel, to clothes, technology to loo roll. So I have always woven this into the nutritional talks on retreat - as much as I dare.
And year by year, I have been noticing the rise in this kind of consciousness. Meaning that I can speak of it more, and detail it with greater enthusiasm - appearing less and less like the eco-green-hippy (as I probably did 10 years ago), and more just like someone who reads newspapers (which I have never done).
For it is not news these days. It is everywhere : news articles on deforestation; WWF reports on loss of global diversity, Monsanto having their pesticides kicked out of countries you might’ve actually heard of, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) giving us 12 years to curb carbon emissions, and even dear old David Attenborough finally using his position to gently announce that things are in a bit of a mess - nothing has removed plastics from our oceans faster. Who doesn’t love Sir David ?
So yes, there is change. Big change.
Without blowing our own trumpet, some of you may remember that Sura Detox used to donate 50 acres of rain forest after every retreat to The World Land Trust - underwritten by Mr. Attenborough himself - to be held by local folk in perpetuity for the good of the wildlife and the planet in general.
We only stopped because we had a couple of years of business hardship - and we struggled to survive the changing landscape of search engine algorithms. But now that the financial winds are blowing in our favour again, we support women in tropical zones to plant at least 500 trees after each retreat through Tree Sisters. I do the same after the other events I run, and today I awoke with tears in my eyes for this acknowledgement from its founder Clare Dubois…
So thank you to all our guests over the years for enabling us to generate such abundance doing what we love : healing the body, educating the mind, freeing the emotions, and generally making good things happen in the world.
We will continue to spread the abundance you give us, to all the corners of the world, empowering and defending the best indicators of a societies’ ethics - its women, its children, and its wildlife.
And if that is not enough
On the same morning, we welcomed home a good friend - and sharer of these ethics - from his time standing with Extinction Rebellion in their action in Bristol.
Apologies for those caught in the backlog of traffic while they made their point yet again. Their negotiations with the government are simple, reasonable, and downright necessary.
Tell the truth - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
Act Now - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Beyond Politics - Government must respond with appropriate haste and authenticity to the impending crisis, or we will find ourselves better leaders - IE; create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Political wranglings aside, it was the stories he returned with that spawned this blogpost.
How the police have not resisted these movements, and - as much as they are allowed - given advice and assistance - for these movements to proceed for maximum effect. For they too, it seems, understand the degree to which the system is no longer serving the people or the planet.
The police gave clear definitions of what would get people arrested, and the hundreds willing to put their liberty on the line were gently removed by compassionate and understanding bobbies having to do their job - my friend’s partner included.
Numerous times, my ability to hear his renditions was hampered by the lump in my throat.
It’s a good day, when my heart is warmed to tears twice before breakfast !
I have written before on this subject of hopeful movements around the planet. They are of course often squashed, quelled, disrupted, disbanded, broken, shot, tortured and dumped by those who wish only for short-term gain, but the number grows nonetheless.
The question of course, is can it grow fast enough to beat the 12 year deadline prescribed by the IPCC report ?
It is, of course, not these brave souls being arrested in the relative comfort of England that will make a difference. They are the thin edge of a massive cutting edge, started long ago, and recently given massive voice by Gail Bradbrook’s prayerful invention of the Extinction Rebellion - who I have spent time with and fully stand behind.
Remember, it is not the evil ‘them’ who are to blame here - it is us. Me. You.
And what we give vote to with our purchases - that is what makes the difference. (See my next blogpost)
I learned a long time ago, on a forested hillside in Thailand - too young and neurotic to notice its implications at the time…
The more we use, then the more we must carry, and if we aren’t carrying it then someone else must carry it for us.
And the beast of burden to whom all of this ultimately falls is the planet itself. Usually via petroleum.
Resulting in a climate our grandchildren WILL NOT be able to survive in.
In some way it doesn’t really matter - if you can discount the fallen forests, the raped oceans, the traumatised children, the lost species… In another thousand years, what do you think is gonna reign on this planet ? You think it will actually be hover boards and artificial intelligence keeping track of billions of automaton citizens ?
This land, and all land will once again be covered in trees, without a trace of humanity’s heights of science and technology. Either because we did nothing, wiped ourselves out, and the forest regrew of their own accord, or because we noticed that we cannot live without them, so we actively replanted them. One way or the other, we ain’t making it out of the woods. But if you like your children, and you want them to be able to have half the privilege you had, then let’s get planting !
Or as Clare Dubois says in her opening video on the Tree Sisters donation page -
‘Do you love this world ENOUGH…’..
Over to you people…