‘What we contemplate here is more than ecological restoration; it is the restoration of the relationship between plants and people. Scientists have made a dent in understanding how to put ecosystems back together, but our experiments focus on soil pH and hydrology–mater, to the exclusion of spirit’.
Indigenous plant scientist and author, Robin Wall Kimmerer, ‘Braiding Sweetgrass‘
In recent years, with others on a small voluntary committee, I’ve been delighted to have been able to contribute to a wetland restoration project in my area, the small Drummin Bog Project, in addition to my ongoing Hollywood Forest Story. My ecosocial framework from my PhD, and my recent Haumea ecoliteracy work (https://haumea.ie) for art practitioners, has been useful to help upskill and guide others toward an integrated ecosocial vision and activities for the wetland and neighbouring communities.
While still not prioritised in the creative sector, there is increasing realisation at higher political levels that this is a crucial decade globally for ecosystem restoration, as reflected in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, that is now running in parallel to the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Yet, there is less appreciation that the means to mend our ways requires an unprecedented cultural shift.
Seeing the failure of facts and figure to induce commensurate societal change over the last 50 years, I hope cultural programmes with skilful ecosocial artistic components will be recognised as an essential, inclusive means to bring communities into caring for their natural heritage. But I also know that the creative sector suffers historically with poor ecoliteracy too; the division between science and the arts and humanities means the creative sector little appreciates its important leadership role to help inspire ways of living well with the world.
There are, however, small but significant signs in the powerful economic sector, that a shift towards prioritising ecosystem restoration is now beginning to be seen as essential to maintain Earth’s life support systems. The landmark report released last week in the UK – The Dasgupta Review, makes crystal clear that economic activity must protect ecosystems & restore harmony with nature. The report commissioned by the UK Treasury, means it could have a highly significant influence on government finance departments across the globe but missing from this report, is awareness that the crisis we face is a cultural crisis, with ancient historical roots. To overcome the catastrophe that is unfolding will require a radical evolution in consciousness, a cultural shift so we deeply understand and act to know our thriving is intimately, and always connected with ecosystemic wellbeing. A seachange in our education is needed both in our creative and economic sectors.
The Abridged Dasgupta Review is here
There is great excitement in the South Carlow national schools of St. Brendan’s, Drummond, Scoil Moling, Glynn and St. Michael’s, Newtown this week as the “An Fraughan” eBook is launched.
The eBook commemorates the ecosocial art project also called “An Fraughan” that ran in the three schools in 2019.
Funded by Creative Ireland with the support of Carlow Arts Office and the Drummin Bog Project, An Fraughan connected this very special Carlow environment with its surrounding young people through inclusive, participatory arts activities.
And now, photos from the children’s creativity, their exhibition in Drummond Hall and Drummin Bog itself have been brought together in eBook form created by Jules Michael, with a supporting essay by Cathy Fitzgerald.
There will be hard…
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