An initiative seeks to influence not by statistics but by appealing to people’s emotions.
In a holistic sense we all have a most natural “privilege”: to experience an unconditioned love for Mother Earth. Of course, this bond is a near-inescapable, instinctual phenomenon that has merged so well with the spiritual awakening of humanity from the dawn of our species into the present, via the practice of animism.
Yet animistic affiliations have largely been supplanted around most of the world by institutionalized religion with dogmatic beliefs, while modern lifestyles have caused millions of people in urban settings to lose almost all their appreciation of the natural world around them. Spontaneous reverence for Nature has largely been confined to small reclusive tribes living natural lives from time immemorial.
Yet we can all recapture that spirit of awe too and do so by living more naturally.
That is what my partner, Cheryl, and I have been trying to do for the past eight years in a small rural community at the foothills of the Eastern Carpathians, in Maramureș, Romania. We have embarked on a consolidated set of sustainable values, a new paradigm committed to self-reliant ecological living.
This mission did not come easily to us as temptations had been there all along. However, a voluntarily chosen simplistic attitude in living well, and well within nature’s limits, has helped us over thresholds and setbacks, including the establishment of a chemical-free household.
At Forest Creek Meadows, a multifaceted sustainable living initiative we founded, we have sought to help other people effectively reawaken to the sentiments without which sustainability is unachievable. We strive to influence not by dire statistics for reasoning to deal with but by calling on people’s emotional intelligence: on what feels right. Sustainability, we believe, is an act of love.
We have been offering a range of services as sustainable living catalysts to a special kind of clientele: dedicated private individuals and small-business owners who feel an urge to learn to live and work in closer collaboration with nature. We offer consulting services that can vary from months-long commitments for entire families via social media to just 20-minute one-on-one sessions via video chats aiming to provide intuitive solutions to one or two practical daily tasks. In our life lessons we exercise what we call “nature’s mentality.”
Intuitive power sessions are also aimed at helping business owners, with up to 50 employees, to become leaders in sustainable practices and do so not just by adhering to certain metrics issued by governments or international watchdog organizations but also by following their hearts. We analyze the current stage of sustainability and green practices at a business and come up with a set of recommendations which overarch the entire operation from building design and furnishings to the production and delivery of company services.
To give one important example: boosting carbon-dioxide sequestration via the planting of native woody vegetation. Shrub and tree species are selected for small-scale carbon-sink projects based on which of them have been native to the regional landscape. We ourselves cultivate chosen plant species from seeds or cuttings in our nursery dedicated to the project.
In the final stage, individuals who would like to offset their carbon footprints incurred through work-related or private travel can help plant groves with several hundred to a few thousand plants. This reforestation project is carried out on private land acquisitions under our private management, albeit for a global benefit.
But Forest Creek Meadows looks further still. In what we call a “symbiontic” food provision scheme, we strive to assemble a vegetation guild with efficient carbon-sequestering flora consisting of either directly edible plant species or ones that can act as hosts to a whole suit of edible organisms (such as soft tissue plants and fungi) through symbiosis. This way, reforested land will fulfil a dual purpose: that of an effective carbon sink with varied-age woody plant specimens while also providing a highly productive ingenious alternative to traditional farming practices.
This pilot project aims to change the way members of the scientific community and laypeople alike view food production. Agricultural machinery that would cause excessive harm is deemed undesirable. Meanwhile, cultivated food crops are geared towards perennials in a kind of diet that is akin to vernacular ancestral ways with no grains, nutrient-rich animal protein and healthy fats (mainly animal fats and nuts). Wilderness is re-invited to mingle with tamed human operations, thereby creating a mutually beneficial habitat matrix.
Hence the name symbiontic food provision: we humans are acting again as true symbionts. The end result is a wide range of artisanal organic food, fibers and other products, all obtained in close collaboration with Mother Nature.