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'Happiness Hubs' vs 'Land Ownership'
While wildscaping a church (and the surrounding land) over the summer, a volunteer asked me, “Are you creating a biodiversity hub?” and the thought popped into my mind, “No, this is a ‘Happiness Hubʼ.”
A ‘Happiness Hubʼ is a place of balance: uniting the needs of every being who would desire to utilise that space (local humans, wildlife and even plant life) and finding the best way that can be thought of, to co-exist in harmony together: that also means recognising the right of plants who have self-seeded and carved out their own territory there too.
Whether the land then becomes an Ecologistʼs ‘biodiversity idealʼ is secondary and a cheerful accident. It all starts with recognising that NO space (no land or property) belongs absolutely to us humans and that (quite frankly) we need to learn to share a lot better. Every SINGLE inch of space across our planet is criss-crossed and claimed by a multitude of different species (animal & botanical) who all think of that space as 'mine' and they are ALL right. With empathetic boundaries in place, we can all co-exist to mutual benefit.
When us humans regard a piece of land/property as ‘mineʼ all that we have done is what EVERY other species does: we have claimed a territory from others of our own species in such a way that the boundaries are generally acknowledged and respected. We have done this not through battle (as we used to) but through an evolved social/economic construct that we have created around us, known to us all as a 'legal system' within which we mark out territories on paper maps and sign what we call (and generally accept) to be a 'legal contract.' Our land ownership is recognised ONLY between us humans.
SHARING OUR SPACES
Our general lack of empathy towards other species who come into 'our gardens/houses' stems from having blinded ourselves - over many centuries - to the fact that we have no actual RIGHT to the land, except from other humans, who have chosen to live within and abide by our 'legal system'.
As far as the fox, rat or squirrel who steps into 'your garden' knows, that is their territory, as often they have claimed it (tooth and claw) from others of their own species. They might fear humans and our actions towards them but (in their minds) they are merely defending themselves against a predator. They have not read and acknowledged our 'House Deeds' and said, "Gosh yes, I see that this is YOUR garden but I am going to flout your authority to deliberately upset you/get you to call 'Pest Control'."
So - whatever your hopes and dreams for your home and garden - let's start from scratch (with a new understanding) and acknowledge (first and foremost) that that creature (in 'your' garden) has EVERY right (in its mind) to be there too (and not only take up space, but thrive as best it can).
The next step is working out how to co-exist in a ‘Happiness Hubʼ (previously known as your garden) with that being. That means: recognising the needs and desires of yourself and all local animals/plants and finding a ‘CENTRAL BALANCE POINTʼ of harmony between the requirements of everyone. Basically, is there a way that everyone can win?
This territory belongs to the FOX, who has claimed it as his/hers from other foxes.
This territory belongs to the HEDGEHOG, who has claimed it as his/hers from other hedgehogs.
The TREE and all of the different PLANTS here (flowers, herbs, weeds - whatever label us humans have placed on them) have - whether they were planted or grew independently - claimed their space here. They draw on their water (and the nutrients from the soil where their roots have spread) and they make the most of the sun/shade that falls across them.
They defend their territory from other plants who would seek who take the resources/encroach into their space.
This territory belongs to the SPIDERS & INSECTS, who build their webs or defend their boundaries from others of their species.
This territory belongs to the BIRDS/BATS who nest/forage here. Whether these bats have roosted here or the birds have claimed the space for a period of time, they ALL seek to utilise the resources available to them and to guard then from competitors.