When you think of all the life that Earth has sustained – is sustaining – will sustain, across the whole of time; when you think of the near infinity of flora and fauna blooming and being upon, above, and within the Earth right at this moment; when your mind reaches up to the thin wing bones of a bird, let’s say the albatross, which are of a span so wide as to allow it to glide thousands of kilometres without pause; and then think down to the deepest dwelling creatures of the sea, as deep as we can ourselves fathom, to the monster-ish fang tooth fish and snails that resemble small ghosts; and then across into the dark innards of the Earth, its rich, black soil, to the myriad flatworms, roundworms, and ringed worms, drawing dirt into their bellies and transmuting them into their own existence: you know that even these creatures are a miracle, and more valuable than gold; that the Earth itself is everything, everything, it is Everything, and as such is precious beyond any words.
We often talk about the rainforest being destroyed, but did you know that Wales in fact possesses its own ‘rainforest’, a wonderfully rich, wildlife-sustaining series of habitats known as the wetlands? Right now some of the Welsh wetlands – specifically, the Gwent Levels – are under threat because ‘they’ want to build a relief road for the M4 through it. This area is home to the endangered water vole, the common crane (which has only recently returned to the area after 400 years away), the rare king diving beetle, and the scarce rootless duckweed. Grass snakes lie like lords in the long, feather grasses; birds of many description gather here to nest and feed. In order to save 10 minutes of commuting time, it is proposed that 125 hectares of this specially protected wildlife zone be destroyed or damaged, and the rest polluted by toxic vehicle fumes. Its water ways would be disrupted, also, which for the WET-lands means that a major element of its ongoing sustainability could be dangerously unbalanced.
In a small way I’m hoping to engage people with the #WelshWetlands via the #LiteratureMatters award I’ve just been granted by the Royal Society of Literature to create a number of podcasts (if you’d like to feature on one of these / collaborate, please get in touch!). I live directly opposite Cardiff Wetlands, which are incredibly beautiful and inspiring. But, more than this, they are often considered to be the lungs or lymphatic system of the Earth, and of cities in particular, as they tend to exist in close proximity to urban areas. So, on this Earth Day, I wanted to alert you to the fact that this particular set of lungs, the Gwent Levels, are in dire need of your help, RIGHT NOW. Please consider signing and sharing this petition, therefore:
Welsh Government can still be swayed and directed by us to make the right choice. Which, I strongly believe, would be a decision to put the Earth, which sustains all life, including our own, first.
The beauty of the wetlands is one thing… But, we should not forget that every bird out there right now possesses a tiny beating heart. Every single strand of grass is drinking water from the soil, thirsty as a child. Every leaf is proof of magic in action, an unconscious alchemy in which sunlight is transformed, moment after moment, into life.
The song of the coots is, as I type, swimming through my living room windows… It says to me, that they would like to live. Just as I, too, would like to live. And, as we would all like all of our children to live! And we need the Earth to live in order for us to make this our future.
Please choose the Earth on this Easter Monday!
“In nature, nothing exists alone” – Rachel Carson
#WelshWetlands #NoNewM4 #SaveTheGwentLevels