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Can a sense of belonging save the world?

Can a sense of belonging make us more ecological

A couple of weeks ago I was down in London to see my eldest daughter perform in a piece of experimental theatre. It was the end of the heatwave, the point just before the heavy rains, and the city was completely parched.
In the parks the tall plane trees were shedding their leaves, it looked like October rather than August. Sitting outside a cafe with a cup of coffee, I watched the leaves whirl down to cover the dust where the grass used to be, thin squirrels pawing through them.

I am sure that the big trees will be fine, their roots reaching down - the drought becoming a memory, a thinner ring at their core.

But elsewhere smaller trees were leafless, fruitless, withered, often dead - some had dropped branches in an attempt to survive.

Planters of shrivelled box balls lined the pavements outside restaurants and office buildings. The contracted care was falling far short and they were being left to suffer and die.

But then, every now and again, we would pass a planter or a patch of earth still green, still blooming - verdant against the hard, hot pavements.

One evening, walking from Kings Cross to Euston, we met a man who was watering the plants outside his block of flats with grey water in a large fizzy drink bottle. Two more bottles were in a tote bag by his feet.

The planter he was watering was thriving - bright flowers and trailing green - saved by someone who was happy to spend a little bit of time caring for them.

And alongside the actual flowers he was saving the insects and the birds that depend on them too.

I had been appalled by the state of the parks and this man, with his bottles of grey water, cheered me up.

For I saw that if tiny parts of the city could be kept green through the actions of a few people - then we do have hope for the rest, we just need to let people care.

It isn’t about spending money or increasing watering contracts, for those concepts obviously fall down in a crisis. It is about personal connection.

It is about feeling comfortable with stepping in. It is about belonging, being invested, feeling at home.

This isn’t of course just about the plants in Central London, it is about the natural world wherever we live. While the shrivelled plants in London were very obvious, there are other risks to the natural world around us that are less so.

We only notice them when we pay attention.

When people feel connected to the natural world where they live, they see it as an extension of themselves, they pay more attention, they see its needs. If people feel empowered to act, if they have the knowledge, the personal investment, the impetus . . . . well that is when we see change and care.

Repairing and replenishing our personal connection to the natural world is at the centre of this, it is where we start - using our heads, hearts and hands together to learn, feel and act

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This week’s Friday film is about a trip to London, a tour of the Chelsea Physic garden and filling my home with flowers when I got home. 
If you are interested you know where to find it 🎥
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There is a point when the sun slants in and all the dried seed heads which have decorated the house over winter suddenly look dusty and dull.
I have a visceral need to be surrounded by things that are growing and green.
There is a video over on YouTube about planting up winter aconites and spring bulbs - I have these on my desk at the moment and every now and again there is a wonderful waft of scent reaches me.
For Studio Clubbers there is now a whole module on planting up bulbs indoors in the Fire and Frost course.  What varieties are best, where to get them, how to treat them and answers to a whole load of questions.
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Then - ridiculously early it seemed to me - they wanted to choose their own outfits and quickly favoured whatever was fashionable, only available from mainstream shops and my needles were no longer needed. 
I’m now delighted that two decades on I’m back in action. This is the start of a mend - on my eldest daughter's denim jumpsuit.  The under arm seam was ripped so I'm transforming it with linen flowers.
You can see more of it in last week's Studio Vlog on YouTube . . 
I love the idea that the mending will make the jumpsuit into something completely different. That it is as bright and clashing as her toddler clothes. 
I’ve also been asked for mittens . . .
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If you want to know more about either (or both) you can find the details up in my link.

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But yesterday, lying on my front in the sodden grass and filming snowdrops, the soundtrack was birds in the birch tree above me.
I still have no water in the Studio. 

On Thursday when I walked up to the kitchen to make a coffee, the sun was streaming into the kitchen.
I can't properly express how happy that makes me. 
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Obviously I'm well past tidying up for photos.
I wonder if it is just when the light is least that I notice it most.  The shadow of birch leaves on our bed as I passed to top up the bird feeders.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I help bring the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

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