Everything is Connected

East Sooke Park - Quotation 4Stand still in the forest, and listen carefully. The trees are talking about you.

Well, perhaps not in quite the way we’d understand that as humans – it’s unlikely they’re passing judgment on your dress code, for example – but they are communicating with one another.

Through their roots and through massive interconnected networks of fungal strands, called micorrhizae, trees and other plants share chemical messages, passing back and forth between them, letting each other know of changes in the environmental conditions affecting them – providing information about their world and the many things that influence it. Instead of simply competing for things like light, water and nutrients, they actually act as a community, sharing resources and supporting one another.

It may not be communication as we usually think about it – using primarily sound and gestures – but it is communication nonetheless. In fact, it is not at all unlike the way our brain cells function to enable coordination and a coherent response to our interactions with the world about us. (For more on this, check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8V0IJ11CoE , one of many).

Of course, none of this is new. Wise people and those closely connected with the natural world, such as First Nations, have, for millennia, intrinsically understood the interconnectedness among living things. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth people on the west coast of Vancouver Island, for example, have a saying: “Hishuk-ish Tsawalk” which means “Everything is Connected.” That includes us. It’s a perspective and a lesson we could all benefit from.
For me, this changes the whole way I think about the forest (and my garden), and when I walk among the trees and plants I do so with a great deal more respect. We may never know exactly what the trees are saying about us, but it’s nice to imagine the possibilities.


A few years ago I had the responsibility and the great pleasure to organize the 14th International Conference of National Trusts. Held for the first time in Canada (in Victoria), this week-long gathering brought together representatives of National Trust organizations from around the world, along with many conservationists and heritage advocates from our local area and from across Canada. National Trusts represent more than 7 million members, in some 50 countries in all corners of the world. The Victoria conference adopted the Nuu-Chah-Nulth perspective – “Hishuk-ish Tsawalk” – as the underlying principle for our discussions and for our quest to find collective solutions to advance our cause of conserving the world’s special places.

It was a principle that was readily and wholeheartedly embraced by the participants. The National Trust movement has learned throughout its 120 year history that true conservation success comes best with a holistic, comprehensive and community-centred approach. It has always understood that providing the opportunity for individuals to step forward and take direction action to protect and care for those special places that mean so much to them is like “tugging on that single thing in nature” – they quickly find that it is connected to the rest of the world, and before long a larger, more comprehensive culture of conservation evolves. This culture of conservation is what it will take to protect our natural and our cultural heritage, and make the world a better and healthier place for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

This is why my colleagues and I continue to work hard to build a proactive, community-based National Trust for British Columbia and for Canada. If you’d like to help us with this, I’d encourage you to become a member, or make a donation. See our website for more details: http://ntlcbc.com/?page_id=20

Remembrance Day


Poppy - 1Here’s a short video for Remembrance Day. Please take 2 minutes out of your day to watch it, and to remember. Remember what’s important. Remember those who came before, and who laid the foundation for the life you enjoy. Remember your own stories, for they are the building blocks of your character, and your future.

Remembrance is one of the greatest responsibilities we have, as humans, and one of the greatest gifts. It falls to us to tell the stories for those who can no longer do so, to bridge the generations and enrich all of our lives.

Remembrance Day, for me, transcends the memories of war. I’m fortunate to have no direct memories of war or violent strife, only those that come to me through others. It’s the respect for those others, and for their stories of their efforts to build a happier, more peaceful and more decent world – whether on the battlefield or at home – that, for me, is at the heart of Remembrance Day.

That respect for our own history – told through so many personal remembrances – and how it shapes the present and informs the future, is also why I put so much of my time into promoting and working to establish a National Trust organization here in British Columbia, and across Canada. To build the infrastructure necessary to ensure that our communities can protect and celebrate the special places that are important to them, and through which our collective stories can be told, seems to me to be one of the best ways we can honour and respect those who helped to build this wonderful country, and to fulfill our role as citizens.

INTO Survey

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INTO is working with Manchester University to conduct a survey for members of the public under the age of 30.

The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is an international network of National Trusts and similar non-governmental organisations, globally diverse but united by a shared commitment to conserving and sustaining our shared heritage, such as buildings, gardens and monuments. Through cooperation, coordination and comradeship between the international community of National Trusts, INTO works to develop and promote best conservation practices, increase the capacity of individual organisations, establish Trusts where they do not presently exist, and advocate in the interests of heritage conservation. Think of INTO as the umbrella organisation for all national trusts around the world. With it being an international organisation it could be an ideal GAP year provider as the destinations to choose from are almost limitless, including Australia, USA and Canada.

GMJ Consultants is a group of consultants from Manchester Metropolitan University. We are conducting a survey on the brand awareness of the INTO and seeking to find out whether young adults would be interested in doing a GAP year with them at one of their international heritage locations. Using your feedback, the INTO can develop a world class product for young adults, an experience that would be truly life changing.

We thank you for your time in participating in this study and will keep you informed about the outcome of this study.

It would be a great assistance if you would take 10 minutes to complete this Questionaire.

Nathan Creek Farm

Posted February 23, 2014

The National Trust has now assumed the lease from the provincial crown on Nathan Creek Farm in the Township of Langley. By doing so we have assured the future for Nathan Creek Farm for at least another 30 years. Nathan Creek Farm operates a CSA program. At the moment there are a few places open on their list. Act fast to secure a place and do good while eating well. For more information see their website.