Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Nelson Mandela's struggle for a garden on Robben Island" or "Why it makes sense to invest in ecosystem services"

It was not for nothing that Nelson Mandela fought for permission to grow a garden on Robben Island.

In his words: “To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom.”

The simple act of gardening helped Nelson Mandela sustain his longer–term perspective, re-emphasised a sense of responsibility beyond himself and provided a link to freedom. Powerful stuff!

Nelson Mandela’s garden story is beautiful and gripping, but certainly not unique. The link between healthy nature and human wellbeing is well-documented.

It makes sense to invest in ecosystems services.

For the full text of remarks at a recent gathering of the Cambridge Resilience Forum read here.

Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

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