Modern life is creating a growing disconnect between humans and the natural world. The phrase “Mother Earth” is a beautiful expression of the services and support provided by our planet that are essential to our daily lives. Our globally-shared “mother” supplies everything we need – water, crops, sunshine, building materials and even medicines. I think she deserves a bit of recognition for that. And that’s before we consider the aesthetic and almost spiritual value that living amongst nature provides.
This sense of value is one that remains integral to the lives of many indigenous peoples. Their wisdom and alignment with the natural world actually forms the basis for many sustainable development policies today. For example, the Darwin Initiative in Guyana works with indigenous populations living in some of the most fragile and biodiverse places on the planet to gain knowledge about low-impact living. Creating dialogue between policy makers and communities, this project aims to most effectively manage protected areas and develop a National Action Plan.
This cooperative approach comes as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 18th Aichi Target which aims to incorporate traditional knowledge into national and international policies. In Malawi, this comes in the form of intricate knowledge of plants and their uses for cosmetics, medicine and nutrition. In Bolivia the focus is on climate change adaptation and mitigation through their “Framework Law on Mother Earth”. Many such initiatives are in place with the hope of gaining valuable knowledge and understanding from indigenous populations about how to plan our future in line with Mother Earth.
Respect for the Earth
The connectedness of indigenous communities goes beyond knowledge however, it is rooted deeply in a concern and respect for this powerful force at work in our lives. A look at farming practices, for example, reveals small communal farming areas which, once used for a season, are relocated to a new area, thus allowing the land time to recover. This is miles away from modern intensive agricultural methods.
Selective fishing and protection of spawning shoals are just two more examples from a long list of practices founded upon a sense of respect and appreciation for our collective mother. Animism, or the belief that places, creatures and objects have a spiritual essence and are animate and alive, forms the basis for such approaches. Although we may not wish to take our relationship with Mother Earth to this extent, there’s something truly wonderful, I think, about being in tune with her to this level.
Reconnect with nature this Mother’s Day
So, this Mother’s Day why not take some time to try and reconnect with nature for yourself? Here are some recommendations to pop some nature into your Mother’s Day this year:
- Take some time out in your garden or local park.
- Treat yourself or someone you love by buying some flowers (locally sourced, native and in season, preferably).
- Sow some wild flower seeds in your garden, or in a pot on your windowsill to bring nature indoors.
- Take some cuttings from your garden. I’ve taken parts of plants such as ivy and mint and potted them up to sit on my desk. I recommend plants like these (if you have them) because they are super low maintenance and thrive in practically any situation. (I’m so sick of fussy house plants which flourish one day and are wilting the next!)
- Try a spot of star gazing as night falls.
Rethinking traditional gifts
You can also have a double win by rethinking that manicure set or box of chocolates you usually buy for your mum, mother figure or the inspirational woman in your life, and buy a nature-inspired gift instead. Zero waste products such as reusable travel mugs can be super cute and personal, or more practical items such as soy wax cling film to help out around the house can also be really appreciated. These kinds of gifts thank mother nature as well as your own amazing mother.
If you want to buy a gift that more directly looks after mother nature, there are plenty of great schemes to buy trees or sponsor endangered animal species. I especially love “Treedom” which allows you to plant a tree somewhere across the globe dedicated to your mum. You can select trees by their country or meaning to personalise the experience. There’s something beautiful about buying your mum a tree symbolising happiness, calm, energy or beauty – and there’s more to pick from too. Trees start from €14.90, but if you’re looking for a lower budget gift then adopting an animal with WWF is a great option starting from just £3 a month. From dolphins to polar bears this is a truly exceptional gift that will outlast the usual gifts and do your bit in loving mother nature too.
Don’t neglect your earthly mother this year. Get in touch with nature this Mother’s Day if you can and consider a gift for the mother-figure in your life that benefits our planet too.