A gardener’s resolution for 2014

The word “heart” and “earth” are interchangeable and perhaps there’s a reason for it, or at least a message in it.

The word “heart” and “earth” are interchangeable and perhaps there’s a reason for it, or at least a message in it.

In her book Working With Nature – Shifting Paradigms, Heide Hermary, author and creator of the Gaia College, writes, “Our societies have entered a period of intense change.  As we become aware that our actions are affecting the equilibrium of our planet, it becomes clear that many things need to be done differently.  More and more consumers are willing to pay a premium for goods and services that are guaranteed to embody ecologically-sound practices, and more and more producers and service providers are able to meet those needs.

“For businesses and consumers alike, this involves a shift in values.  We are not talking about a little change in pricing, but a paradigm shift – a shift in fundamental, underlying values, a shift in what we value most in life.  Our current land management practices are based on the assumption of mankind’s superiority over Nature.  Somehow this world view then resulted in a perception of Nature as imperfect and in need of improvement.”

Perhaps it’s also a consciousness shift to make positive changes in our gardening and farming practices.  A phenomenon discovered in the 70s and written about by biologist Lyall Watson, goes something like this…  Japanese primatologists were studying wild Macaques monkeys in the 50s on the outer islands and mainland, and had been feeding them an introduced sweet potato, but they didn’t like them when dropped in the sand, until a monkey on one of the islands eventually solved the problem by washing them in a stream.  This cultural innovation and social improvement was gradually learned by almost all of the others in the troupe over a period of six years except for just a few more, then suddenly – almost overnight – it was all of them. It was as though the added energy of those last couple of monkeys somehow created an ideological breakthrough, and it didn’t stop there.  The learned habit of washing potatoes then jumped over the sea to the isolated colonies of monkeys on the other islands  just as quickly.

Thus, it was discovered that when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind and distance does not affect it.  Mr. Watson proposed an arbitrary figure of 99 monkeys and said that one more, the so-called ‘100th monkey,’ would then provide the critical mass of consciousness necessary to trigger this effect on the others.  So what this phenomenon means is that if enough minds tune in to each other, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone.

Marla Spivak, a bee expert who recently spoke on TEDtalks said: “Every one of us needs to behave a little bit more like a bee or insect society, where each of our individual actions can contribute to a grand solution – an emergent property – that’s much greater than our mere individual sum of our actions.”

So what will be the driver of large-scale change to stop using poisons and harmful substances on our gardens, lawns and farmland?  Our purchases of organic and natural products, including the seeds that you sow, that will send a clear message to those companies who manufacture toxic and deadly products that we refuse to use them?   Will it be a profound paradigm shift in our values as Heide talks about? Or perhaps the 100th monkey trigger, where it will simply become unthinkable or unconscionable to use toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that would damage and destroy all the micro and macro inhabitants that rely entirely on a healthy eco system to survive – just as we do?

Nature provides us with all the knowledge and methods we need to sustainably manage our plants, water needs and soils – we need only to observe from it. Nature provides us with an amazing abundance of free organic and nutrient-rich materials to use in so many wonderful ways to keep our gardens and farms healthy and alive with life forms – we need only to gather and use them. Nature also has an amazingly powerful toolbox and medicine cabinet to restore damaged places back to a healthy state – we need only to learn about them.

We make our own garden beds, so-to-speak, but it’s whether or not we want to lie in them is the question we may want to ask ourselves.  Perhaps a great New Year’s resolution for 2014 would be to embrace the motto of ‘I will do no harm’ to this precious planet in the universe known as Gaia, and that we all call home.