Global Recycling Day is tomorrow and the international event offers folks a chance to nominate their recycling heroes and give a shout out to those who have kept up their work for the planet during the pandemic.
In honour of this, I will be taking a very short, local walk to a copse of alder trees by some council offices, with the aims of cleaning the area up and recycling as much of the rubbish as possible. The offices have been empty since last year, with the amazing staff now working diligently from home. The area has, in their absence, become something of a dumping ground and isn’t visible enough to warrant any attention from the refuse collectors.
Litter can be very harmful to local wildlife, and it’s an important part of my spiritual practice to do what I can for wildlife, local plants, and the environment at large. I’m currently working (very slowly) through an amazing Ogham course with the Irish Pagan School. It involves journeying to try and communicate with the spirits of Ogham, which of course have some strong tree associations – and many other associations, too! My journey with the fid, Fern, led me to a discussion about Alder trees, and a commitment to help them – although at the time, I didn’t grasp quite what this meant.
One sunny Sunday, I was out with the kids and we were all taking our government-sanctioned exercise. I’d long known that the grounds of the council offices were full of interesting trees: an apple, rowans, and birches. This day, I discovered that at the path side of the building, there are some old and beautifully gnarled alders. I decided there and then that the area needed cleaning up, as it’s currently full of litter which will not only discourage wildlife but actively harm it. As I made this commitment, a crow flew down and sat in the top branches of one of the tallest alder trees. Although no stranger to coincidence, in this moment I felt like this offering of service had been accepted.
Learn more about following an environmentally-kind spiritual path in my upcoming book, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living