Yesterday was a great day. We participated at the Brickworks off the Don Valley, home of Evergreen (RE-THINK SPACE) who hosted in partnership with Seeds of Diversity and the David Suzuki Foundation, an event called "Wild Things with Wings", all about Pollinators. The highlight was David Suzuki as the key note speaker with an indepth, 15 minute talk with pivitol key points about the human machine and it's effect on our natural world. He went way beyond pollinators as he said at the beginning "We all know pollination is important and all that and I'm trying to think in a broader sense of why pollinators & gardening matters....We've lost that connection with nature. Pollinators are something if you think about it, so obviously important for our survival and yet most of us live in the city, we live in a human created environment surrounded primarily by other human beings and I think we've really lost that contact with the natural world..." He mentioned a naturalist at Harvard, an 'ant expert', who explained that if humans went extinct tomorrow, besides less than a dozen other species - the parasites that live in your armpits and guts, the rest of the natural world, all plants and animals would rebound, thrive in our absence in a short period of time BUT if all of the ants in the world disappeared, all the terrestrial ecosystems on the planet would collapse. He says: "It kinda puts things into perspective, we think we're soo important, but it's the little things that are very, very crutial, thats the role that Pollinators play." You know, I couldn't help but to feel like 'a little thing' too. We are a small family farm and are making a difference.
I think what really struck me was when he mentioned that for 99% of our exsistance we were nomads, the 'hunter/gatherers' and we saw the world as inner connected, inner dependant what he refers to as humans in the 'bio centric position'. Where we lived with nature and did not consider ourselves to be superior. He goes on by saying: " When you live in that inner connected, inner dependant world you feel that sense of responsibility.... Something fundamentally different has happened in the last 150 years and I believe one of the driving forces of the change was our move from being farmers to being big city dwellers. When you are a farmer or a gardener you know about the seasons. You know snow is related to the amount of moisture in summer, you know what insect pests are and what insects are good, and weed species of plants and the good species of plants. We understand those things because its important for what we do as farmers......Over 80% of us live in big cities, we've gone from being the farming species to a big city dweller and in the big city it becomes easy to think we're not like other creatures. We're so smart we created our own habitat, we don't need nature and I think that begins this process of estrangement, isolation, separation from the natural world. You all know that in a recent report this generation of children spends the least amount of time outside of any generation in human history..." I look over at my stepdaughter at this point and she is grinning like a cheshire cat and knows this to be true! I'm truly glad that she got to hear him speak. She even took the picture of David Suzuki & I that he graciously agreed to when I told him I was an organic farmer!!!
David Suzuki really painted the picture of the stagering human population growth. THAT is scary in itself, nevermind when you begin to realize how little most people 'care about' or 'fear' how the natural enviroment is changing. He sums things up by saying "The fundamental things we need as animals to survive are created, cleansed and replenished by the web of living things on the planet we call biodiversity and without that biodiversity we don't exsist. Who needs nature? We need nature and events like this and our activity as gardeners are an intimate reminder of our dependance on the rest of nature. Looking at pollination is one small part of it."
Garden. Get your kids outside. Visit your farmer's market and ask a local organic farmer how his year is going so far and buy something from him/her to nourish your family. Care about your natural world and teach your kids to care too. I think one of the positive things to come out of this new 'hip to be green' campaign going on via big distributors now I see within the media is the simple human condition regarding "keeping up with the jones". Now that it's 'cool' to go green, Mr & Mrs. Smith will join in, cause the Jones are doing it and so on and so on. Most folks are soo materialistic THANK GOD it's getting cool to be green!