Canolfan Tir Glas is grateful to the Lampeter Resilience Hub for this Blog. Thank you Ladies.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TREES
Resilience can be used to describe people and systems that bounce back from negative experiences and disturbances. An example of this could be a tree weighed down by snow –
Sepp Holzer learned that a tree grown in tune with its local surroundings is more resilient than one artificially forced to grow quickly. Growing slowly but surely, in tune with its environment without being propped up, it grows up experiencing wind so is better able to withstand it and the weight of snow. It might be smaller, but it will be stronger, more resilient, it can bend and bounce back. In the human context that bounce back may need to be a bounce forward, an acceptance of new ways of living, as we coped with the challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic.
Community resilience is like the tree which, in partnership with its environment, enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the soil community, giving and receiving to mutual benefit. It gains the knowledge and skills needed to survive in its locality, it puts out roots, (foundations) embedding itself, building stability, and with practice in winds, it builds upon its strengths and flexibility. Resilient communities are better equipped to face both expected and unexpected challenges when they arise… because future disruptions may well be unpredictable, more drastic and more rapid than expected.
Unlike Sepp Holzer’s tree, we have grown out of all control, outstripping the ability of the Earth to support and protect us and are living beyond our means. This is the very definition of unsustainable; We need to scale down, localise and live within our means, re-examining all our practices and re-assessing everything we do, in order to develop resilience.
We are SO well placed here in Wales to model a sustainable and more resilient future. The Lampeter Resilience Hub believes Lampeter University can become that model, a centre of excellence to demonstrate to all that it can be done.
The Lampeter Resilience Hub (LRH) is a small community led group that is focussed on helping Lampeter, the University and the surrounding area become more resilient in the face of climate change. We share CTG’s vision of building a sustainable and regenerative culture in West Wales and beyond, by working closely with the community and local commerce to support local food production, local forestry and construction, rural enterprise and community wellbeing. Making Lampeter and its surroundings an economically sound and desirable place to live and work in these changing times.
The LRH is working with the University to bring practically orientated courses on how to bring resilience into all aspects of life. The first course Resilience by Design, has been trialled and will be made available to both the university and the wider community this year.
CAMPUS VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE
Real food doesn’t come in plastic. It is grown. There are parts of Europe where every home, every corner has something to eat, growing there.
‘Eating locally’ doesn’t have to just mean going to the local café or restaurant, it can mean going out of your door and finding something to eat growing there; the most resilient thing you can do is grow your own food, support your local growers, and get involved in local growing schemes.
Following on from the strengths of Incredible Edible, there is great potential to achieve this for Lampeter and for its students. Every student block could have its own beds with perennial plants providing food for the students all year round, and each student block could have its own fruit or nut trees and shrubs.
Imagine the University surrounded by a Forest Garden full of edible trees, shrubs and plants producing food locally to provide resilience for the people of Lampeter… the land that the University holds presents massive opportunities. The LRH has shared a phased campus development plan with the University for their consideration, highlighting the scope for creating valuable teaching resources on campus whilst modelling resilience in the community.