It's not long ago since we had a group go young school leavers join us to make a short film about CommuniTree.
During one afternoon I was stopped by one of them and asked if I could 'sum up' CommuiTree in one word. I have been asked this before and had a ready made answer: "connection", hence why I was surprised when out of my mouth came a different response: "Love". The lady who had asked looked as surprised as I felt and replied, "awww thats cute", I wasn't quite sure what to make of that either, love is not cute, it's the greatest and most powerful of human emotions, and YES it makes up the very foundation of what we do at CommuniTree.
A few years ago I was moved by a documentary that I watched about the human degradation of our planet 'home' and the ubiquitous yet unnoticed abhorrent inequality that is speciesism. It cut me really deep because I had a profound love for the Earth and its complex communities that make it so beautiful and vibrant. I was angry by what I saw and for a while I went on a personal mission to ensure everybody was aware of the destruction that was taking place and in hope, rally them to change their ways and stop the destruction. I wouldn't have called myself an 'activist' per se but I was fiercely trying to raise awareness and make a difference. So you can imagine how hard it was when people didn't seem interested or were blasé about my protests.
I quickly realised that what I was doing wasn't working, I began to question why and it didn't take me long to understand. I had been acting from a place of fear, confusion and resentment. Once I realised this, it quickly became apparent to me what had happened: I realised that only when people felt a similar love for nature would they be open to change.
As I reflected on how I fell in love with nature, I realised that before we can care for something and protect it we must first of all fall in love with it. The first step to falling in love is to notice both the flaws and the beauties, to accept that the only thing in a relationship that is permanent is change & to marvel and wonder at that change, to identify and appreciate all our differences but know that at the very source we are the same and to know that no matter what, you will always be there for each other.
These basic love principles are not restricted to a relationship with nature, they are also prevalent to our relationships with our communities, each other as individuals and most importantly with ourselves.
Love is the most powerful emotion and a wonderful guide. Whenever faced with a challenging situation I always ask myself, "what would love do" and I'm always inspired to move in the right direction.
Tomorrow is the first day of Forest Camp 2019, if you were to come along to The Island you won't hear us drilling children with facts or making them identify leaves and buds, instead we'll be encouraging them to notice how nature is always changing and identify with their feelings and emotions because you just never know they may be falling in love!