bY aLEX sYLVESTER, sADEH’S LAND MANAGER.
The High Holydays are a great time for self-reflection, but also to renew our relationship with nature. Perhaps it is worth considering with everything we do “How do we create a more beautiful world?”
Let’s turn parking lots into paradise.
Some believe the Covid-19 pandemic is nature’s way of sending us a message – that if we don’t take care of nature, we don’t take care of ourselves. Even pre-covid the warnings were increasingly dire – we are in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction. You may know that the last time the rate of extinctions peaked was 65 million years ago. A meteoric collision ended the reign of massive lizards, with birds being the only descendants of the dinosaurs. The cause this time is human activity – eating up the resources of the planet – that is upping the level of extinctions by up to 1000 times what it would be otherwise. We may think and behave like we are apart from nature, but our lives and civilisation are hugely dependent upon the services that healthy ecosystems provide for free, such as clean air, pollination of crops, flood protection and pharmaceuticals.
Clearly our relationship with nature needs more than a few counselling sessions. And luckily, just as with climate breakdown, we are still within that window of opportunity for meaningful action to prevent the worst.
So how are we reconnecting with nature at Sadeh?:
Blessed with access to land, we have an amazing opportunity to repair a little patch of Kent and let wildlife flourish. So here are a few things we are doing:
- nurturing newly planted areas of woodland, and hedgerows along some of the boundaries of Sadeh.
- letting the meadow grow and encouraging a rich mix of wildflowers through seeding and scything.
- planting loads of nectar-rich flowers and herbs for bees and other critters
- making compost with all the food waste for the no-dig organic vegetable beds
- and harvesting from nature’s bounty – damsons, waste apples, herbs and flowers
Together we can create a more beautiful world.
Looking to the future, we aspire towards more off-grid low-impact living, e.g. with compost toilets and woodburners. So we will need to plant more trees to sustainably harvest firewood from the land. And plans are afoot for a constructed wetland system, which would be a big attraction for local wildlife.
Last year the Kent Wildlife Trust recognised our efforts with a Wild About Gardens Silver award, so we must be going in the right direction here.