Why Eco Activism is important in 2021 – what is happening globally with community herbalism 

The Pandemic reminded us why cultivating change through our eco-activism work is increasingly more important by the day. This year, sees our beautiful earth’s temperature is rising, the seas are filling with plastic, and carbon emissions are skyrocketing which is causing massive, destructive ecological impacts. These extreme changes such as floods, crushing storms, rising sea temperatures, pesticide contaminated soil and forest destruction for human construction are disproportionately affecting marginalized communities and leaving civilizations feeling broken and disconnected.  

Eco-activism is a voice that is speaking not only for the land beneath our feet, but also for those that are concerned with the way in which our current way of life is leading us to our imminent demise. Human rights, such as the accessibility to medicine and good, nourishing food goes hand in hand with protecting the environment as both provide for the other! We aim to prevent damage to our Mother by creating communities and awareness around a new way of living. One that promotes autonomy and empowers people to create a personal connection to the earth through plants.  

There is much to be mulled over as the pandemic is still devastating communities with this seemingly relentless virus. This year brought to light the urgent need for medicine and wellness to become more accessible, due to outrageous pharmaceutical costs and lack of insurance coverage in some countries. 

Out-of-pocket costs for pharmaceuticals is not as high in the UK as it is in other countries, however, it is still a stress point throughout the year. In places like the US a person will spend on average $1,200 per year on prescription drugs. Those that lack insurance will also be less likely to seek medical attention or purchase a necessary medication due to increasing costs. Some simply cannot afford to take care of themselves as we are now faced with monstrous global wealth gaps.  

Food transport is yet another culprit that is causing strain and degradation to the planet in the 2020’s. We have become so used to enjoying whatever food we want all year round that we are out of sync with a natural, seasonal food system and in sync with disregarding the impact that transport emissions have and will continue to have on the earth. Not to mention the pesticides sprayed on most crops that seeps deep into the soil. All for the satisfaction of instant gratification. We must think local! Growing local, regional foods and medicine will not only reduce energy use, but it will empower and create self-sustaining communities. These communities will be people who have built a connection with the earth and each other. Their carbon footprint will be greatly reduced and they will be spending far less out-of-pocket costs for their health as some medicine will be grown from the land nearby. They will have the power and knowledge to share and educate others, and more self-sustaining communities will sprout. 

Vegetable garden shop at a local community garden

Us Seed Sistas have dedicated our lives work to being one of these self-sustaining communities. Our aim has always been to educate folx about harvesting and utilising plant medicine so that we are able to spread this revolutionary healing system globally. Starting with our Northaw Community Orchard, our goal has been to connect people to their local plants and empower them to treat their minor ailments and nourish themselves with the gifts of our beautiful earth. Plants and humans have co-evolved since the dawn of human evolution and we have simply lost touch with and respect for our herbaceous cousins. Our community orchard was birthed to re-connect the bond we have lost. Running small scale initiatives with local village and primary schools such as battery and clothes recycling projects, educational awareness campaigns and stalls, and sharing a community garden are all ways in which we bring to life a thriving sustainable future. Our Monkton Wyld Medicine Garden is a way we imagine this sustainable future as it is home to over fifty medicinal herbs and is a source of education for our apprenticeship students. The students tend the garden and learn the importance of medicinal horticulture as a way to spearhead eco-activism.  

This environmental paradigm can be seen budding all over the world. People are taking to their gardens to help the world understand the value in digging in the dirt and taking a walk through the forest. Community herbalism is that paradigm in action! We are continuously seeing an urgent need for sustainable, readily accessible herbs and community herbalist programs are creating a space where this ancient medicine can be distributed. Where information can be shared and not selfishly kept to oneself. Where people can be educated on what can help them lead a healthy, nourished life. Community herbalism is burgeoning and leading the pack in creating strength and collective resilience against the woes that plague this world. Marginalized communities are being helped, incarcerated folx are receiving herbal aid when in the past they have been disregarded. In order to combat injustices and the blaring climate crisis, we have to act. We have a ways to go, but in joining together and spreading nature’s wealth, we believe the future can support the potential adjustment we all need.  

Here is a film we made for Botanica conference about our mission in Eco- Activism and Sustainability

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