By STEVEN TURNER
Hernando Sun Contributor
As a landscaper, I see the world from a unique perspective. My job involves creating beautiful outdoor spaces by designing, installing, and maintaining various natural elements such as plants, trees, and other features. It is a challenging yet rewarding profession that requires a keen eye for detail, creativity, and a deep understanding of nature. I feel lucky to be able to work with the earth and help people bring their outdoor visions to life.
Most of us are landscapers, whether we want to claim this or not. It’s in our nature to take care of the planet in a way that is creative, productive, interactive, or engaging. As a species, we have been engaging with our landscapes throughout time and space. It used to be required as a way of surviving, but being raised indoors and with television, computers, and phone screens has allowed my peers to not entertain this idea of being a natural landscaper.
I suspect most people reading this may be elders. I am considered a millennial by age group. After spending time volunteering for a nonprofit, I gained this perspective firsthand. I was raised on technology, indoors during most hours of the day at school, indoors at home, watching TV and playing video games. But not engaging in the landscape like an Amish kid would in their community.
Having ex-Amish friends who dropped out of the community in Missouri, I learned that their lifestyle, at a young age, would include many tasks with their farmland, like learning to break horses by the age of six and learning skills required for community contribution. This is how I suspect perhaps most people lived 100 years ago, before the big industrial revolution in technology. This change in childhood is not bad. I am pointing at the idea that we are natural landscapers, and our interaction with the planet, environment, and landscape has minimized our relationship with this natural, once-required skill. Nowadays, as we age, we tend to stay in our indoor environments, like cars and buildings, and go on with life as if our little bubbles are somehow separate from our environment. People are convinced we are separate from our environment.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Billions of organisms interact 24/7 to produce and balance our resources and requirements to sustain our livelihoods, daily lifestyles, and bodily functions. We, in fact, are all products of our environment. You cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment. Our interactions with our landscapes are just as meaningful as our interactions with our neighbors, families, and church communities. Our current technological-based lives have allowed us to forget this importance!
Landscaping is not just a job, a hobby, or somebody’s way of making money. Landscaping is a part of our lives, and our daily interaction with it is not as required due to our advancement in technology. Because of this, our relationship with the planet is minimal, and some people are even afraid to even go outside anymore. On top of this, the impact on our systems, from food to water and energy, significantly affects our environment in unhealthy ways. You can’t be healthy in an unhealthy environment. If we largely damage our environment, we are damaging ourselves. Our children get the end result handed off to them as they inherit it and pass it on to their children, and so on. One example of this unhealthy impact is the thousands of acres cleared for development. With this, there is a huge habitat loss of millions of organisms, plants, and animals, leading to less natural environments to sustain life. The future of this example leads to desert. In a desert, there are minimum resources for life. There is a global movement now aiming to inform 3.5 billion people about healthy soil. There are studies showing over 50 percent of the soil on the planet is turning into desert or poor in nutrients. This is also a significant concern for our future generations.
Everybody is talking about climate change, pollution, and politics, but nothing about soil. Soil is the very foundation that sustains us all! Your body, my body, and everybody is technically a soil body. We are not separate from our environment! Soil is found in every landscape and is often missed in our daily lives. Nevertheless, it is there; therefore, so are we. More on the soil next time. For now, visit consciousplanet.org to find out more. If we are mainly impacting our environment in unhealthy ways, we and our children feel separate from our environment. What will this result in for future generations? Long-term planning to include healthy policies in our landscapes and farms as we grow and develop economically is a must, and from the perspective of a fellow landscaper, the way we all landscape could be healthier!
YOU CAN’T BE HEALTHY IN AN UNHEALTHY ENVIRONMENT!
Steven Turner is the owner of Plant Lives Matter, LLC; A Natural Way to Landscape