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Let’s Talk Trash: Back to the land

Find a trail. Dig in a garden bed. Sail the waters. Point out a constellation. Visit a farm. Watch the birds.

Going back to the land is really a retracing of our steps.

Not so long ago in earth’s story, we hadn’t yet left. We all had mud in our boots and dirt under our fingernails. Asphalt and cement hadn’t separated us from the soil. Buildings hadn’t obscured the forests. Freeways hadn’t blurred the trees.

We all inherently feel the poetry of a sunset and the expansiveness inspired by a clear night sky. No one needs to convince us of the beauty in a flower.

When we find ourselves inside staring at screens, zipping around in cars and shopping under harsh lighting much of the day, we are inevitably veiled from the truth of our relationship to the natural world. We begin disregarding the very mother that breathes into our lungs, quenches our thirst, nourishes our bodies and holds our dreams.

What are the consequences of this disconnection? Like all undernourished relationships, the strain is bound to show eventually. When we don’t spend quality time with someone we stop knowing them. We lose the thread of what’s important to their wellness, too.

Relating to nature may seem a strange concept. What does a tree have to do with me? A lot, it turns out. Beyond the obvious ways they house and warm us, they are habitat for creatures great and small and exhale the very air we breathe.

Those in the qathet region can learn more about trees during the local celebration of Earth Month. April 21 at 7 pm, Let’s Talk Trash and qathet Regional District are fully sponsoring and hosting the film The Hidden Life of Trees - a journey into better understanding the true nature of the forest, which is free to attend. The communication and care that trees offer each other is astounding and worth witnessing closer up than we usually do.

Our relationship with the natural world is never neutral. We are connected to and dependent on it. Earth is a holistic system and we are a part of it. Normally this would be a symbiotic experience, but humanity’s overconsumption is borrowing from the future stores of energy needed to continue the perpetual cycle of life. The strain is being felt planet-wide.

If we believe our food comes from stores, clothes from the mall and medicine from the pharmacy, we are sorely disconnected from reality. Getting reconnected to what it costs the earth for us to live usually leads us to live more simply. The temporary pleasures we receive by extracting its very life blood may only be questioned when we see our vampiric actions slowing the earth’s pulse.

No other creature takes more than it gives back. Reducing our consumption eases our burden on the earth that sustains us.

Spring is the perfect time to reconnect with the land, to come out of our hibernation and let our pallid complexion be kissed by the sun.

Find a trail. Dig in a garden bed. Sail the waters. Point out a constellation. Visit a farm. Watch the birds. The richness of this relationship cannot be underestimated.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste reduction education program. For more information, email or go to

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