Working With Nature, Working Together

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Issue 308
May/June 2018
Working Together

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Working With Nature, Working Together
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Cover: A Hundred Sunsets by James R. Eads, @james.r.eads.art

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Reflecting on the importance of the natural world

Reconnaissance by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, courtesy of October Gallery www.octobergallery.co.uk

Reconnaissance by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, courtesy of October Gallery www.octobergallery.co.uk

One of the pleasures, for me, of working at Resurgence is the short, tree-lined walk from our offices in a converted farmyard building to the nearby village of Hartland. In winter, with the winds blowing in from the nearby sea, and a particularly invasive rain that seems to come at you from all angles, you are reminded of Nature’s elemental force, putting humanity and our daily concerns into perspective. But at this time of year, it is a particular joy to hear the birdsong that fills the air. The most routine day’s work is enlivened, mundane preoccupations fall away, and your spirits are lifted.

Something of that feeling informs this issue: a theme of working in, with and for Nature. In their own, distinct ways, our writers reflect on the importance of the natural world, on our differing approaches to it, and on the imperative of finding new ways to solve the problems that face us collectively.

For James Thornton, his spiritual training in Zen Buddhism, together with his background as a lawyer, combined to inspire him to dedicate his professional life to environmental law. For Tony Juniper, a passion for conservation and a lengthy career as an environmental campaigner have led him to believe that we can best defend the natural world if we appreciate how central it is to our own survival.

But it is not only in our relations with the natural world that we must make connections. It is in how we relate to one another. So in this issue, Guy Singh-Watson, one of Britain’s most successful organic farmers, explains why he is turning his business into a cooperative, and Darren McGarvey reports on the emergence of new forms of community activism in inner-city Glasgow.

As always, there is an artistic dimension to these new departures, these new connections. Justine Reilly talks about the work of Leah Barclay, bringing the sounds of the natural world to new audiences. The musician Alexander Chapman Campbell tells how a pilgrimage walking across the Norwegian countryside informed his latest compositions. And we look at the way the artist Garry Fabian Miller has married techniques of camera-less photography and textile design to evoke a deep relationship with the natural world.

Vandana Shiva writes on the importance of traditional medicine. Paula Byrne and Jonathan Bate, meanwhile, remind us of the health benefits of human culture – in particular, slow reading. And in a short story, the Scottish writer James Robertson shows the value of moving beyond modern technology to rediscover the virtues of human communication. As we move with the seasons, we hope you enjoy the connections we make.

Greg Neale is the Editor-in-chief of Resurgence & Ecologist.

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