Here is a simple, and not exhaustive list of ideas on how you can protect the earth.
The first and most obvious way you can become a Gaia Guardian is to pledge yourself to protect the Earth, physically, in the local area where you are. It could be as simple as a single tree, a small piece of green land, a park, a woodland or forest, a river or stream. Wherever you find the earth or water as a natural and beautiful place, this is worth protecting and guarding.
If you have a tree in your street, why not pledge yourself to protect it? You can water it regularly in drought conditions. You can make sure it is only cut when absolutely necessary, and note the bird and other wildlife that use if for a home. You can get it listed by your local council on a Tree Preservation Order if it can be shown to be an amenity to the area and so that no one can cut it down by law. These are simple things to protect one tree!
Take a Note
If you have chosen a tree, or parkland, river, woodland or green space to protect, it is a good idea to make a survey of all the life-forms. Birds and other animals living and using the land need protecting, they are precious and should be noticed. River life is especially vulnerable to pollution and contamination. It might help you later if something happens to your chosen area if you can produce data, pictures and research of any kind that show the wildlife and flora and fauna that are in the area.
Natural England has been collating data across the country about our environment and what’s in it. They have ideas and suggestions for everyone from landowners to walkers and those simply enjoying their natural spaces.
Address Potential Problems
Local councils have a duty to report planning applications and any long term plans they have for all areas in their area. They are required by law to protect open green spaces when they can, but the pressures for new buildings, roads, businesses and to cut back on protection measures and clean-ups can be enormous.
If you are aware of the long-term plans for your area and you keep an eye on your local council’s planning applications you could save an area of green land before it is altered. There are often protection societies, other wildlife and environmental groups like Friends of the Earth, which could help you.
Make it better!
You can step up your support for your green area by attempting to make it better. Plant a tree or wildflower meadow garden for example! There are dozens of ideas online showing you the best planting times, the easy ways to upgrade and even how to find grants and monies to invest in your area.
Keep it Clean and Green!
Showing respect for the earth is so important and a simple way to do this is by pledging to keep your area, river, tree or park as clean as you can. Litter-picking is easy! Wear gloves and bring bags. Take abandoned trollies back to shops. Follow up on any industrial or business waste that might be visible and report it to your local council, the Environment Agency or similar bodies whose duty it is to deal with large-scale waste.
You don’t have to do it on your own either. There are hundreds of groups, from scouts and guides to wildlife societies that organise clean-ups for the rivers and parks, open spaces and woodlands wherever needed. Thames21 organises an annual three-week event to clean up the Thames, our most precious and biggest UK river. http://www.thames21.org.uk/3riverscleanup/
Find out what’s going on in your local area. When the rivers are clean, the wildlife returns!
On the land or in the river, there is a sacred element to the Earth. She is often called Mother Earth, or Mother Nature. Tune in to the most spiritual part of the Earth near you. It may be that previous communities recognised this and denoted it with the placing of holy shrines, churches or temples. It may be that you could create a sacred space where it once existed, or honour the deities present in some way. People can build tiny shrines at the point where a river meets, or plant flowers, or simply call a place by its ancient name to create a more respectful, sacred and holy energy.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”– Albert Einstein