Along with longer days and the sight of green stems curling out of the compost in my plant pots, the summer is beginning with some good news. From 1 May, beavers in Scotland will be given legal protection as a European Protected Species. We could learn a lot from these sociable buck-toothed rodents. By digging canals and building dams, beavers, known as ‘Nature’s ecosystem engineers’, work together to make changes to their environment that benefit other species – from water shrews to dragonflies. The wetland habitats beaver dams create also help reduce downstream flooding and siltation, which pollutes water. Their ability to adapt the environment based on their own needs has been described as second only to that of humans, yet in achieving their goal of creating their optimum habitat beavers enhance the natural world around them.

We humans could do with being a lot more like beavers.

In this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist, instead of focusing on the world we want to create, we look at the paths we take to create that world. The struggle for a better future can bring us closer together, writes Mothiur Rahman, a member of the political strategy team for Extinction Rebellion. By locking arms with others and risking arrest for the lives of strangers, we disrupt patterns of selfishness set by neoliberalism.

At times we need to take a step back and think about whether the structures we have imposed on ourselves are helping or hindering the realisation of our ambitions. In our interview, the naturalist Chris Packham talks about how the purpose of his Manifesto for Wildlife is to “shake a fist” at the conservation movement and prompt change.

The paths we take can be empowering and transformative. In Pressing the Right Buttons, PL Henderson describes the experience of herself and others in the 1981 women’s march for peace, an event that provided “an inspiring platform for the hopes, fears, camaraderie and activism of ordinary women”.

Confronting the world’s environmental crises can feel overwhelming and demoralising, but Satish Kumar has some welcome advice in his regular column: “Activism is a journey and not a destination. Through our noble actions we, the activists, are transformed. Whether anyone else changes or not, we are changed. That in itself is of great value. So, let us move from despondency to delight!”

Next time I start a task, I will bear these wise words in mind.

Marianne Brown is the Editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine.