The ‘beach’ square was inspired by seeing a sad gull dying as it was tangled up in the plastic rings used to package six packs of drink cans. I wanted to show a beach as it should be seen, pristine and clear of litter with the Gull soaring above.
I have been looking into the packaging of these cans throughout the world. Soon after the rings were introduced in the 1960s it became clear that they were a danger to wildlife wherever they were discarded, particularly on beaches as they could get into the sea. In 1994 the US made it mandatory that these rings were biodegradable, however they still take time to degrade, meanwhile they will have snared millions of birds, fish and animals. The response is slow. I hope that plastic rings and shrink wrapping will be phases out. (More details on my research is on the Loving Earth Project Facebook page.)
Save the fridge
Our Crafternoon at Yealand enjoyed interpreting this World Wildlife Fund advert which one of our group found. The cold places of the world are beautiful but also so important for storing water and keeping things cool supporting the earth ecosystem – like our fridge which
keeps our food and drinks cool and lets us eat more variety and more safely. We all contribute to losing the fridge – by travel , by our use of gas and electricity, by what we do and what we eat.What can we do to reduce this? We decided we could all eat less meat and dairy and are hoping to plan a vegan meal for our village. Our textile piece is made from recycled fabrics and scraps left over from previous projects
Important as pollinators .
Endangered by loss of habitats and insecticides, also water and places to make a nest or hibernate .
I can make a nest or bee hotel , provide food plants and water , and stop using insecticides.
Moors and highlands
The moorlands are really important for wildlife and carbon capture and I love their spaciousness and the hidden live there. But they are increasingy unnder threat from wildfires, drainage, fracking, damaging agriculture practices and extreme weather events .
I will try to reduce my carbon footprint and car use, and support campaigns to preserve these precious places as wilderness.
I Love London. But people here are getting sick and dying because of air pollution and there’s an increasingly high chance of major flooding before long, as climate breakdown creates storms, tidal surges and rising sea levels.
Sea levels are expected to rise by over 40cm unless global warming is limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the more ambitious target set by the Paris climate agreement.
I am trying reduce my carbon footprint: although I travel quite a lot, I haven’t flown for nearly 20 years and avoid cars where possible. We have also insulated our home and have some solar hot water. Also I don’t eat meat and will try and eat less dairy in future. This is now an emergency and I will press for urgent and radical measures to be taken by the Government.
No more plastic pens
I love coloured pens, but I also love people, fish, birds, turtles and other living creatures.
Plastic harms and often kills them – whether by affecting hormones, when creatures eat the plastic waste or in other ways.
So I will stop buying plastic pens and use other drawing and writing materals. I am already recycling what I can and I will avoid buying plastic as much as possible in future, especially single use plastics.
The coasts are such wonderful places where possibilities seem endless and eternity seems near. They also teem with a huge variety of life. But they are being eroded by more extreme weather. Rising sea levels and ocean acidification will damage them further, and destroy homes and habitats too
So it’s urgent to halt and reverse global warming. I am campaigning for this, and will try to reduce my own carbon footprint too.
Wonder and compassion
I believe that with deep personal
awareness, the Earth can be seen as a metaphor for ourselves , bringing mind, body soul and emotions together and validating Wholism, which will in turn heighten environmental awareness.
If we lose the polar ice caps….
- The sun’s rays will not be reflected away from the Earth: faster global warming
- Polar animals will suffer : loss of biodiversity
- Water will not be bound up in ice : sea levels rising
- Coastal regions will flood: land, towns, cities lost
- Mass migtration of the displaced and dispossessed: social disruption
- Social pressure and antagonism : more conflict and war
So, I do not travel by air; I use public transport; as much as possible I buy food not transported by air; I grow vegetables and fruit; I am vegetarian.
Therefore life on this Earth can be seen as a pilgrimage into personal empowerment and direct compassionate action, with our inter knowing, creativity and imagination prompting us to bring about positive change and compassionate action for the environment and all living beings.
Need nectar-rich plants , especially late-flowering ones .
They like large clumps of flowers to see from a distance . Also large areas of long grass and nettles to provide food for caterpillars . Not suitable for my garden but we have plenty at the Quaker Meeting House.
I will refrain from cutting everything down in the autumn.
Wild flowers and meadows
Wild and not so wild meadows are precious because they are the free, uncultivated yet beautiful spaces where the earth can ‘sing’ and nature can thrive.
Meadows are threatened by overcultivation and intensive farming, over clearing of green spaces, road building and tarmacking, use of insecticides and fertilizers, and so on. I play my part in adding to this threat for e.g. I drive and use roads, I eat the food that is produced by intensive agriculture, and I have until recently assumed meadows were mostly part of the rural landscape.
I have never used pesticides or fertilisers in my garden and always left part of the garden as wildlife friendly as I know how. This year I have left all lawn areas of our garden to grow into a meadow. It is more messy but rather beautiful.
I am most concerned about our oceans filling with plastic bottles and other dubbish which the fish cannot eat, and whose whose home is being wrecked.
I was brought up in St Helens and many of our holidays were spent on the Wirral, in Meols and Hoylake. My sister and I loved playing with the lovely soft sand, handling baby crabs in rock pools, building castles etc.
Then came the Torrey Canyon disaster. Oil everywhere, causing the sand to turn a murky grey and the water just as bad. Sixty years on and I’ve not been back. I can still remember my horror and upset at my ruined holiday place .
Perhaps we could start by persuading everyone to STOP USING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES. It’s not very difficult!
The Earth grounds us and gives us home. As the cycles of nature are disrupted, species extinction is accelerating. Human communities around the world are also being devastated by floods, droughts, heatwaves and famines; this feeds further conflict and mass migrations.
We need to draw on our deepest values and spiritual resources to help us change our behaviour, as individuals, communities and as a species if we are to break the cycle. We need to stop wanting to have and do more stuff, and rather to live more simply, truthfully and lovingly.
I will uphold the Earth and its creatures in prayer,alone and with others. I will also learn more about what is happening to our ecosystem and what I could do about it, seeking and trying to follow guidance of the Spirit.
When a pupil of ours some forty years ago would draw exquisite pictures of plants and trees, he always drew all the roots and worms and insects under the ground, as just as important as the parts we could see. Now that research has shown us how amazingly complex trees are, for example communicating with each other through the root system and nourishing trees that are sick, as well as their absorbing CO2 , it is urgent that we reverse the destruction of so many millions before it is too late. They are the lungs of our planet and host to hundreds of life forms.
Wherever we have lived we have planted trees. For years we bought toilet paper made by a firm that claimed to plant three trees for every one they cut down. Sadly they stopped when they reached a million. So we switched to another firm that uses no trees. Instead it recycles used office paper. Incidentally it also gives a magnificent fifty percent of its profits to building toilets in Africa. Having lived through the war we have never been able to throw away food and have “made do and mended” all our lives. It’s not enough; but is an ingrained habit that we attend to more than ever.
“The Universe is always Singing”
– Martha Maker, Quaker botanist
Growing wildflowers and suitablegarden flowers to ensure a future for our butterflies, bees and other insects
These panels were made by three friends, from Quaker Tapestry fabric off-cuts and ends of yarn.
Clean water is central to the life and health of many creatures including humans. Extreme weather patterns are causing more and worse floods and droughts in many parts of the world; this results in immediate loss of property and human life, and of crops livestock and wildlife, with disease and famine and lack of infrastructure thereafter. Polluting waterways with chemicals and fertilisers adds to the risk for creatures that live there or come into contact with them – and fuel ‘dead zones’ in the oceans.
Here in Britain, we often take clean water for granted, though droughts and floods are becoming more frequent here too. We can help prevent these by mass re-wilding our landscapes and coastlines and planting (and caring for) trees, including in our cities. Taking major steps on carbon reduction is also necessary to help prevent these extreme events from accelerating further. So I will campaign for such measures to be taken.
I am grateful to live in a place where I have clean water on tap and I try to be careful about how much water I use, and what I dispose into the water supply. We have installed a ‘grey water’ tank so that water from the washing machine and bath can be re-used in the garden but I still use the hosepipe too.
The inspiration of nature
Being in nature nurtures our spirit and is healing. Arts and crafts in many traditions draw inspiration from the bounty of nature and the regular changes each season brings. Climate breakdown is making the seasons less predictable and loss of connection with nature, especially for city dwellers, can add to mental and physical ill-health and means that many people have no idea how dependent we are on nature or how to care for our environment.
I’ll continue to try and look after nature in my garden and neighbourhood, will try and learn more about it, and will encourage others (including the council) to do likewise.
Trees feel pain, send out warning signals to each other, search for kin and
thrive in groups. Sick and struggling trees are supported; nutrients for repair and growth are loaned when deficits occur and are transferred to neighbours before a tree dies.
An underground constellation of fungi (the mycelial web) links the whole forest, sustaining it for potentially thousands of year and supporting communities of plants, birtds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles , invertebrates and insecets.
Woodlands are threatened by humans through clearance, weak protection for precious woodlands, dwindling grant funding and lack of understanding as to how forests work. It breaks my heart to learn how the controversial HS2 rail route is set to destroy swathes of ancient woodland through our countryside.
We can help by managing forests sustainably, in ways which meet the needs of a diverse range of trees, plants and wildlife while supporting livelihoods . This also helps the ecosystem in other ways , such as carbon storage and mitigating flood risks.
I am a lifelong animal advocate and we need more trees, so I have planted wildlife friendly trees and a small patch of wildlife meadow in our new garden (no use of pesticides, of course). We are also encouraging wildflower planting along public grass verges and have helped fund the new Ross on Wye linear arboretum which is making its way along the water meadows.
More information is at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk and in ” The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.
the last days
if these days are the last days
I will prepare my hours
a will and testimony
each breath a gift
each smile a legacy
to pass on to the soil
for the next great ascendency ….
… if these days are the last days
each word that I speak
will be my last stanza
that points at the moon
with a finger of wonder
that denounces injustice
with the claws of a lion
roaring out its reminder
that with each breath we are dying
that it takes work to be kinder
and that love is all
that we can ever leave behind us.
(Sam Donaldson’s poem and Lily Williams’ painting inspired this panel. )
I love to see cows in green meadows, ruminating peacefully beneath a summer sky. I also love cheese!
However, cows create a great deal of methane which is a very damaging greenhouse gas (80 times more damanging than CO2 over 20 years). There are about 1.4 billion cattle in the world and the number has been increasing due to demand for beef and dairy products.
A lot of these cattle are reared intensively, with forests being destroyed and large monocultures are farming plants such as soya for cattlefeed. Further environmental damage is caused by transporting cattle and their food around the world. As well as contributing to global warming, intensive beef production is an inefficient way of feeding people, results in loss of biodiversity, and does not give the cattle a good quality of life.
I stopped eating meat some time ago, and I am now cutting down on dairy products, especially those from cowsmilk. However we urgently neet to introduce agriculture and trade policies that discourage the importing of beef or cattlefeed. Instead our policies should encourage mixed farming, and especially plant food for human consumption, rather than livestock or dairy farming. I will encourage and campaign for this where I can.
Be the hope
Just having hope is too abstract these days, as we face potential catastrophe. Instead we must ourselves act so as to bring about the kind of world we hope for. There is nothing more joyful than living in this way, especially in the company of others.
“ … Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”
George Fox, 1656
Shrill Carder Bee
You will probably hear the shrill carder bee before you see it, and sightings are few. Bombus sylvarum is one of the rarest bumble bees. Once common in southern England it is fighting for survival following the loss of 98% of flower-rich meadows over the 20th century. I myself have contributed to its decline by consuming the products of intensive farming involving habitat destruction and the routine use of pesticides. I now work to help the process of nature recovery by volunteering with local nature conservation organisations (www.bumblebeeconservation.org, www.kentwildlifetrust.org). Through bee identification and plant monitoring to restore a bee-friendly habitat I hope that shrill carder bees – one of the 5 remaining colonies is here in North Kent – can be saved. I hope these benefits can be extended to the other 13 threatened bumblebee species (two of the total of 23 bumblebee species have already become extinct) and the insect population in general.
An encounter with a shrill carder bee in a country garden inspired this poem:
In the twinkling of an eye
She darts from purple lavender to mint
High pitched buzz of the
Shrill carder bee
Tawny back, black eyes
Homing in on sweet treats
Mist of blue uninterrupted bliss
The only other sound
My indrawn breath.