“Guardians, not Gardeners”


I just finished watching a TED talk given by Mary Reynolds, a landscape designer from Ireland, called the “Garden Awakening.”  It was filmed back in November 2016, shortly after her book, The Garden Awakening, was published.

She has some strong words against industrial farming, our failed political leadership, and the destruction we have brought upon this planet.  Her simple message – “grow up” and resume the role of guardians of the Earth that we, as humans, have cast aside, celebrate and honor our connection with this planet and all of its creatures, and start taking care of, and giving back to, Mother Earth, rather than continuing to take…

Worth the watch, and the book is worth the read.

6 thoughts on ““Guardians, not Gardeners”

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    1. It is sad that people remain unaware and/or apathetic, or as I mention below, simply shutdown psychologically due to the enormity of the problem. I think many people feel it is better to ignore the problem, than to feel guilty every day knowing their actions continue to contribute.

      As for reading yet another book, it’s critical, for me, to continue to learn and read/hear about other’s viewpoints; whether I agree wholeheartedly, in part, or not at all varies, but I generally take something away from the exchange.

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  1. I listened to Mary’s TED talk and found it very interesting, and I understand completely what she says about feeling powerless in the face of climate change and and the power of multinationals: I’m always feeling powerless and like Mary, I can hardly bear to watch the news. Our government here in Australia doesn’t do nearly enough to combat climate change which I consider to be the major issue the world faces. But I wonder about her methods. It’s all very well to talk about becoming guardians of the land. I get it, I really do. But there are billions of people in the world and they all have to be fed, so I find her theories slightly unrealistic. It’s one thing to have a plot of land and be the guardian of it- that’s more than commendable, but it doesn’t feed people en masse. The fact of the matter is that there are just too many people for our Earth to sustain.

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    1. I completely agree that the human population has gotten out of control and continues to do so, and that it is utterly unsustainable – which of course contributes to a whole host of other significant issues. And yes, Mary’s suggested solution seems idealistic and insufficient to resolve those issues. But part of the problem we face psychologically, I think, is that these issues we face seem so large and insurmountable that we simply shut down, bury our heads in the sand, and prefer not to act at all. She is offering a solution to the individual, something each of us with a tiny plot of land can do to. And frankly, do we really know that if each of us with land grew just some of our food, and if every community went back to growing some of its own food, that we couldn’t move ourselves away from industrial agriculture? It plays a substantial role in climate change when you include the fossil fuel inputs, soil erosion, pollution, and transport of foods for thousands of miles. So perhaps a million small gestures could have a positive impact. And we do know that the “Green Revolution” has left millions without food anyway as a result of our ridiculous agriculture policies and subsidies. It’s just discouraging and a big fat mess, so I find it mildly reassuring, even if naïve, to grasp onto this notion that I can have a positive impact by growing some of my own food and becoming guardian over my little bit of the planet.

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  2. Yes Lyn, you’re right in everything you say. And I read, probably twenty years ago, that improvements on these issues would come from grass roots level. So from that point of view, Mary is correct too.

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