The Place Where We’re Held: Thoughts on the Setting for Uncivilization 2012

Montbretia at the Sustainability Centre, photographed by Allie K Stewart, August 2012

August 2011, early morning. I’m at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire at the second Uncivilization festival, rapt by a swaying bank of montbretia.  These fiery flowers are old friends, but there’s a vitality, a gleeful shimmering in their presence here that is much less familiar; a sparkle I’ve only met in two or three other places in the world. Most recently, in the Ökowerk nature preserve and learning centre, a repurposed waterworks near the Teufelsee in Berlin. Like the Sustainability Centre, Ökowerk is run through respect for its natural ecosystems, and so allows parts of its land to flourish wildly, meaning that the plants, creatures, soil and stones are largely left alone to manage themselves, and to teach human visitors something of what wildness is. Continue reading “The Place Where We’re Held: Thoughts on the Setting for Uncivilization 2012”