This publication had its beginning back in the early 1980’s when Ross Lamond was trying to come to grips with establishing a plant nursery upon a bare, windswept plain not far from Terara on the New South Wales South Coast.
Ross had been a farmer used to farming by the acre or hectare, now becoming a nurseryman learning to farm by the square yard or metre. He realising his naivety in understanding what the soil and land was yielding to him, and he taking it for granted.
Coming to grips with a windswept plain, compacted and impoverished soil, lack of permanent water and extremes of weather led Ross onto a pathway towards an understanding of his surroundings.
At the time rural environmental issues were coming into prominence including dry land salinity, soil erosion, Eucalyptus dieback, habitat loss, weed invasion and vermin spread. These issues encouraged Ross to educate himself in caring for the land. He converted his windswept plain into a forest where plants could grow within protected surroundings and native birds could re- enter and establish their homes.
Ross was becoming an environmentalist.
He educated himself in environmental studies and realised we as humans were separating from the Earth as we adopted new technologies and mechanisation. We were ‘disconnecting’.
Ross continued his education through studies in urban and regional planning at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. The studies convinced Ross we are also ‘disconnecting’ from the earth through urbanisation, and rural people from around the world are separating themselves from the land and their cultural heritage to move into cities and take aboard technologies of the day including the motor bike and mobile phone. These came with their advantages, but a price. They need money and the land wasn’t able to sustain these offerings (and others) from the West. Rural landscapes could no longer support those who were dependent upon them, and farmers and their children left for cities and towns and jobs.
This evolutionary trend is recent, for many older people amongst us in Australia, for example, remember our parents having to work the land using a horse drawn implement and mother washing the families clothes using a wood fire copper. They grew vegetables and ran chooks or ducks out in a backyard with its fruit trees and room for children to play in the raw earth. Their children grew up as part of the land and it supported them. Ross realised as they left or separated their dependency upon the land and turned towards technologies that drew them away from the bindingness of the soil beneath them, they left the Earth which supported their families for so long. Their is an inert intimacy being attached to the Earth.
Ross suggests in recent times a trend is emerging and there are those who seek a ‘reconnection’ to the land or to Nature in some way. Maybe it’s ‘reconnection’ through the garden, a walk in the park down the street, tending to some flowers in a pot, travelling to a bay or seaside, a river or landscape within a reserve or National Park. Endless ways and opportunities to ‘reconnect’, and its catching!
So here we are today. We were once ‘connected’ to the Earth beneath us. We ‘disconnected’ as we took on board mechanisation and the technologies of the day, and recently, we are learning to ‘reconnect’ as some of us realise Nature and the land is deeply engrained into our physic and we want to reattach in some way. We are seeking the balance that ‘Connectedness’ to the Earth offers us. It’s something we will climb aboard and remain.