Working with nature

In Change, Dynamic equilibrium, Nature

Looking from my balcony today I noticed the snow receding and spring starting to have an effect, with trees coming out in leaf, animals coming out of hibernation, and birds migrating back home and starting to nest.  Last week I was talking over Skype to someone in the UK and they were thrilled just to listen to the birds chirping away in the forest just 30 feet away from where I was sat on the balcony (they sound like this).  The mental space and quiet they got from that somehow seemed to help quieten their mind and they began to see more clearly what was going on in their life and what to do about it.

And over the coming weeks the forest and wildlife will continue waking up and the cloak of trees start to show the mountains in their full magnificence.

It reminds some years ago when I worked as a Landscape Ecologist, when I literally designed with nature.  You see, the same life force that exists behind us also exists in nature.  Arguably we are all one and the same. I was 1 of 300 Landscape Ecologists in the UK and the only practicing one!  All the others were scientists or academics and when we met at conferences they’d get excited at how I was practically applying their theories in the ‘living world’ in real time.  I used to work with engineers, planners, foresters, conservationists and designers creating reservoirs, roads, housing schemes, coastlines, pipelines and forests.  Working with them meant I had to understand what was important to them, and once understood to seamlessly combine all their objectives into something that worked very simply.

And the key thing was you’d never notice my work.  It looked as though the new development or forest had always been there, as it seamlessly and quickly fitted in to the existing landscape and ecology.  Even now if you go to North East Scotland you still won’t see my work, but it will be all around you:  the forests you walk through, the roads you drive along, the pipelines hidden along the coastal heath, the coastline and beaches you play on.  I even protected the quality of water for many whisky distilleries so people around the world could enjoy their favourite tipple.

And the financial and time savings compared to the traditional ‘detailed thinking’ and minutely constructed approaches were enormous.  And once the other professionals understood the importance and helpfulness of working with nature (or, how the system works) it made absolute common sense to them.  And the results spoke for themselves and for the people around them.

Here in the Alps, it looks like a static system of forests and rivers and wildlife and people and communities but behind all of that change is constantly going on: it’s actually a dynamic equilibrium.  And the local people here work with how the system works.  They’ve got to know and understand it over time, and work with it to maximum effect and minimal input.  And they soon know if they work against it: for example in the form of avalanches and rock slides, pollution of water courses.  I can see Mont Evian from the balcony and millions of people around the world can enjoy their favourite bottled water because of how they work with nature here.

You see, the system only works one way.  You can fight against it some of the time (and some people do that for a lifetime) – and that takes ever increasing amounts of energy and resources – but the force behind each and every one of us will always bring you back on track.  Or, you can work with it and it guides you along in the direction you want to go more easily and with less on your mind.

And if you’re curious about working seamlessly with your nature then let’s have a conversation and I can share more.

And if you want to hear the sound of spring, click here 🙂

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