Environmental Action, Love Nature, Sustainable Traditions

There is a light, underfoot – In honour of a natural beauty

Just about a year and a half ago, I became a part of The Green Roots Project. Our goal is to encourage new and sustainable habits around St. Patrick’s Day. The central campaign is beautifully simple – Do Something Green. A meaningful green action that you undertake to adopt in honour of our environment, our future and your own personal growth.

We explored ideas and developed campaigns together, and we had fantastic responses over our virtual celebration last year. Then, as we began to push deeper into the existing ideas, spending time on our vision and distilling our core values, I knew that I had to address a sticking point that I had been ignoring. St. Patrick’s Day itself held little significance for me beyond skin deep.

Like most people that grew up here, I appreciated the atmosphere and the fun of it. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for with the beauty, heritage and safety/freedom which we enjoy here. It is through community events and the magic for children that you get the most from the day of course, but really it just came and went and I took it for granted, and truthfully the main victim of my disaffection was the poor shamrock. I had lost all regard for it.

Revered for hundreds of years, it is still sported proudly by people of all ages here and around the world each year. Most of us are aware of the history of St. Patrick utilising the three-parts-in-one aspect of the shamrock to illustrate the idea of the Trinity in Christianity. This led to the tradition of people wearing a sprig to adorn themselves on this sacred day, as it was freely available to all. 

Eventually it was adopted as one of the main symbols of Ireland, and began to appear on greeting cards for our US emigrants who would find themselves without it to hand in their new home. These new Americans would also wear green for the day, and a tradition was launched.

We have not protected this noble heritage very effectively however, and in many ways it been reduced to a caricature. Internationally recognised and universally exploited – even in the hands of our own envoys.

Here was where I found my level of regard, and I needed to adjust my mindset.

As the group leaned further in to our mission however, I realised that something began to shift. We spoke about the shamrock as a living thing with its roots in the soil, a symbol of the depth of our connection to the earth, its people, and our communities. We were fostering environmental communications and looking at the aspects of this that best achieve it. As we discussed more, it clicked into place for me.

The significance of three is well known, it traverses symbolism, spiritualism and mathematics. It is found throughout history and the world, and nature is filled with it. Ash, oak and hawthorn were considered the faery triad of trees, representing the three realms – underworld, middleworld, and upperworld. Our Druids dealt in past, present and future. The trinity has long been a preoccupation of Celtic art and literature, with objects often repeated three times, three-headed/three-faced creatures, and many symbolic representations such as the triskele.

And so back to our humble trefoil the shamrock. We are in truth so fortunate to have it. It lives perennially alongside our cherished wild garlic and daffodils, hardier than we often imagine, and we can be just as proud of it. It is a trinity and it represents us – our hearts, minds and actions, embodying the three elements that are vital for real change to happen from within.

This grew into our central tenet that informed our interpretation of this trinity –

Heart : The passion for a more sustainable and equitable world.
Through co-creation & collaboration we can create an environment of inclusiveness that builds relationships, motivates with encouragement and acknowledges participation. Bringing people together to develop fertile mindsets in order to nurture these seeds of change and help them grow each year.

Head : The dedication to deep learning, in order to set manageable goals and inspire change.
By offering supportive evidence we can focus on the big picture and share the rationale for change, provoke conversations that inspire that change, foster a shared vision for the future and set manageable goals.

Hands : The work to implement real change, and create impacts within communities and beyond.
By setting clear guidelines for involvement, we can spark actions that create measurable impacts within our communities.

These ideas came from our discussions, research and reflections on what had resonated with each of us. As we looked deeper into what we wanted to achieve, the simplicity of re-embracing this simple plant through a new lens became clear. Now it seems like a beautiful way to reset our relationship with our national day, and forge new habits that will serve to enhance our lives here and banish the plastic and single-use elements that we lately drifted into.

Today, I am a passionate convert to the shamrock and our connection with it, but it must be said that this was not really even a conscious rehabilitation. It came about through leaning in to the message of the group, and having faith in my teammates commitment and acceptance. It was a personal journey, through the medium of community, that has led to unified action.
In a sense, I was informed by it all along.

The Green Roots Project

‘Imagine if everybody celebrating St. Patrick’s Day did something green to celebrate the environment.’
Bridging sustainability with public celebrations creates a positive outlet for people to take tangible action and be involved in positive public discourse that results in measurable impact. There is no single solution for climate change, rather there are multiple solutions that must run in tandem. Collaboration is king. When we bridge existing communities we encourage innovation and knowledge sharing which foster new possibilities and solutions. Strong communities are resilient communities.

How Will You Go Green!

Choose your green action. Take a picture of you holding a sign that says what your action is and where you are in the world. Share with the hashtag #thegreenrootsproject and we will share on our social media accounts and in the website gallery. See our gallery for ideas

Let’s create a green wave across the world!
Get involved in our other campaigns here

Grow your own Shamrocks – special seed mix from Connecting with Nature

Feature image: by Sven Lachmann

See also our Greenhouse Culture FESTIVAL TAKEOVER

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