I hope through Bards In The Woods we will stretch into such a campaign. However, I believe the essential ingredient for success of this is for the people to be in the woods as much as they can to make their presence known.
click to read the full graphic chart here
Of interest to me is that not much really happened on the
38 Degrees Plan until members met up "all over the country
to go for woodland walks and collect ideas for how to
protect our woods".
This has been a backbone of Bards In The Woods activities. I feel it is essential for people to be in the woods first, regularly, and renew their passion for them.
That seems to be the hard part in Ireland. As much as I campaign this I receive lots of "I love the woods, where do I sign the petition" response, accompanied by seemingly countless reasons why the person "in love with the woods" cannot actually visit and be with them.
Here are 22 of them
from my files of the last year ...
01) No transport to get to the woods
If that is your problem ... tell us about it. There's a lot of empty seats going to and from the woodland gatherings.
02) Can't afford to - No money
Please rethink this. It isn't a problem. I do not think any of us reach for cash in this gathering. Anything else you will be doing will be consuming something you have to pay for, that is not so beneficial.
03) Health problems, cannot walk, cannot breath, cannot ....
If health is a problem ... the problem may well be from not being in the woods enough. I do see folks with walkers, wheelchairs and other aids in the woodlands.
04) I do not like being around people, I am too shy..
We are incredibly supportive company :-). Getting good things done and influencing changes needs being around and with other people. None of us can do this alone, as unconnected islands.
05) I am not a Poet and do not know any favourite poems
We can offer you something to read.
06) My voice is not very good, nobody listens
You think your voice is not worthy, well your ears are ... but we will also show how much we love your voice too.
07) Sunday is a bad day for me, I need to be with my family, my church, my garden, rest ...
What is a better day for you?
08) I do not have suitable clothes and shoes for the woods
Anything can be worn at our gatherings as we do not go on rambling and hiking club/group adventures. Ours are gentle easy events. We have had folks wearing clothes from Sunday suits, to mountaineering gear, to ripped and holey shirts and jeans, from 500 euro branded hiking boots to bare feet. Overall, this not an issue.
09) It may rain and I may get wet and cold?
Yes, that does happen in Ireland sometimes, but we do tend to find shelter easily and share our brollies too.
10) I have children and dogs and they may be in the way
Wrong, they come along too. Look at some of our video clips and you will see children and dogs in some of them.
11) My cats will miss me
Hmmm, I have heard somewhere that cats do not mind being left alone for a couple of hours sometimes at all :-)
12) I like to go somewhere peaceful, I don't like children around
Well, surprisingly the children that come along seem to like to hide from adults too on our gatherings. And we notice, so does Tony Cuckson, when he is with us, like to hide with them, Often it seems the children appear again, and Tony, when its time to eat for a few minutes, so that's a win win for us all ... but do stick around for the children's wee poems, as I am sure they may surprise and inspire you.
(I joke about Tony, as he is fabulous with children in the woods :-) )
13) I am a Light Worker? who needs calm balanced surroundings
I get this comment often and it puzzles me why these folks need to have an alternative to the random flow of nature to work within. A lot of these folks seem to prefer to be inside a human created and controlled building. Personally, I feel there is no better opportunity than being in woodlands to "shine light over the people". Its where the raw naked light shines between the branches. The fae are watching ... and they will help too.
14) I am afraid of the woods
Who was on this planet first? We are all very welcome in the woods. Add to that, Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where nothing can harm us from bites, and stings, and attacks (human attack when there is a bunch of us together unlikely), or disease.
15) I have a phobia about getting dirty?
Everything we pick up from the woods all washes off easily with just plain soap and water, but a lot of things in that "dirt" actually benefits us more than could possibly harm us. Do not let healing be a phobia.
16) I fear of how others will see me, too fat, too thin, too tall, too thin ...
C'mon .... all those things are about beauty. Beauty could not exist without your presence, without your own uniqueness in form and presence.
17) I fear I would not fit in or belong
I firmly believe we are good medicine for that.
18) I think its a waste of time, we need real action
Sorry, that one does checkmate me as I do not understand the question.
I am amazed at the people who write to me saying how Bards In The Woods is silly and a waste of time, and that we should all be out in the streets protesting against the sell off of forestry. To me that's like driving around in cars protesting against the reduction of cycle routes.
If we are not in the woods, it gives more reason for the public access rights to be taken away. By not being in the woods I fear we are merely demonstrating we are not really interested. I sometimes wonder if we are herded into the Five National Forest Parks to reduce our presence elsewhere so they can be taken from public access at any time?
19) You scare me
Yes, I actually do get this one from time to time :-) . I am accused, sometimes, of being pushy and demanding, and other things. This is a very easy challenge to resolve, though ...
Get together with some family and friends to share some time in a woodland where I am not present ... but please tell us about your time there with pics and video cips, if you can. This would multiply the Gatherings offered and happening, and that can't be bad :-)
20) I prefer all women's / all men's events?
Go ahead, arrange it and do it. Again, it means more gatherings in more woods. It's all good.
21) I like to do things online as it connects the world and gets things done
Yes, being in the woods does mean being away from Facebook for a couple of hours ... but if that is really seriously a problem for you ... we even have that covered too.
What things more important than woodlands and forests?
How many "more important" things would not be here without woodlands.
Sometimes there are more immediate issues to deal with.
If a fracker was moving in next week, that IS serious business
... especially if it is into a woods.
If a family member is chronically ill, it calls for our immediate attention, rather than
some woodland walk and picnic ... but what from the woods could help you?
There's a big rugby match on? Err, what needs support Heineken or the Forests?
Have I missed any other Reasons To Avoid The Woods?
If you cannot make it to Bards In The Woods, or do not like the name,
check out what Native Woodland Trust are doing and any of the other
Woodland gatherings in Ireland.
Alternatively, create your own in your own comfortable format.
The important thing, is to achieve preservation of Public Woodlands
and our Public Access to them, it is essential to get out into the woods,
and get out there with others.
Many people tell me they prefer to be in the woods alone.
Solo woodland visits do have their valuable place ... but, alas, they do not contribute to the cause if we are to be effective like the UK example above.
Many people tell me they prefer to be in the woods "In Spirit"
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be a known effective course
in protecting public access woodland policies either,
even though millions believe or wish it could be.
Being at home and filling in the online petition is never enough.
Public access does mean - the Public making use of the Access
... or have it taken away by someone who will use it,
in ways we may not like at all !!! Monoculture, Fracking, Chemical tests etc.
Once sharing with us with Bards In The Woods,
folks cannot wait until me meet again :-)
I look forward to hearing, reading and viewing your Reasons To Be In The Woods.
I look forward to meeting you with Bards In The Woods
or about your other kinds of visits to the woods.
Please, be in more woods of Ireland much more often.
Be in them with others, so we can preserve our access
and expand the woodlands that may cover Ireland in the future.
Woodlands and Forests are for our survival too.
See you in the woods ...