It's ‘Earth Day,’ a symbolic moment in the annual cycle when we recognise the significance of planet Earth as the home of humanity and all living things. Earth Day began in the US in 1970 and it has grown into a global movement. Its mission is formed around investing in our planet. At the local scale its concerned with how we invest - our time, effort and other resources to help nature and the physical world in the bit of the Earth where we live.
As owner of a 9 acre property which includes a garden, a field and a small woodland, I accept responsibility for the investments of time, effort, materials and finacial resources necessary to maintain and sustain it. Indeed the ideas of sustainability and regeneration are morally baked into this sense of responsible ownership and stewardship.
Some of my effort is undoubtedly concerned with how my garden, woodland and field look. I care about their appearance and therefore I'm willing to invest time and effort cutting grass, weeding in areas that are highly visible and cutting highly invasive brambles so they don’t overwhelm other species. In maintaining a lawn I am mindful that I am not seeking to create a mono-culture. My ‘lawn’ is more like a cropped meadow in the sense that it is full of weeds, flowers and mosses and many species of grasses. A few years ago I decided not to mow the grass until late July and what resulted was a beautiful wildflower meadow. It taught me a valuable lesson that sometimes just leaving nature alone is all it needs to regenerate.
Increasingly, I become more aware of the need and moral obligation to help nature, I am expending efforts that are not aimed at the aesthetic appearance of my garden and surrounding areas. Rather my efforts are directed to trying to encurage a healthy environment and increase biodiversity. For example removing deseased trees and planting new saplings. Or cutting/removing invasive plants so that other plants might have space to grow. My mini B-line project falls into this category of action. It is an attempt to enhance biodiversity and specifically to increase populations of pollinating insects.
As temporary steward of this landscape I accept the cost of caring for it but rarely count the cost, unless it is a big project like felling trees or replacing a fence. But for this project I want to consider the economics of trying to help nature and the environment by estimating costs alongside my attempt to show the impacts and benefits. The table lists the costs of my mini B-Line work so far and the essay below describes the activities I have undertaken and my progress so far.