Over the last 50 years in the UK, we have lost over half of our honeybee population and half of our wildlife. People have never been so disconnected from nature, with the rise of conditions known as Nature Deficit Disorder, and mental health problems are sky-high. The way in which we are currently interacting with our environment, the way we buy food, and the way we are prevented from seeing the environmental destruction, feeds and maintains the destruction the planet, and keeps people feeling trapped. Food is grown in heated plastic tunnels in distant lands, grown with unthinkable varieties and quantities of herbicides and pesticides. Normal people can afford to live only in high density housing estates, mainly devoid of nature with too little outside space for growing food, or meaningfully being able to interact with nature. Children are rarely let out of parent’s sight due to high presence of fast roads and feelings of a lack of community to keep an eye out.
Currently, land laws and planning in England keep people separate from food growing and from nature. Land and houses are unregulated enough to allow them to be used as investments and profit makers for the wealthy. Young people currently are in a housing crisis, and cannot afford to buy their own homes, let alone homes with enough outside space to live sustainably. Houses with enough land to allow families to grow their own food, harvest their own solar and wind energy, and allow children to grow up understanding nature, is unaffordable. Land without planning permission is – it currently sits around £5,000-£10,000 an acre, whereas land with planning permission sits around £20,000 an acre. Environmental custodians, who actively work and benefit the land, either are forced to live unsustainable lives feeding into the destructive system of banking or resource consuming modern housing estates, or have to leave the UK where land is more affordable. This leads to community breakdown, and a real skill-drain in the UK of pro-active, beneficial community members.
There needs to be a shift in the planning laws, to allow for naturally built, sustainable houses, with land guardianship which improves the local area and community in open countryside. Currently, you cannot even live in a small log cabin or yurt on your own land, unless you have been able to get planning permission for the build of a house. The bank will also not let you borrow money for land without planning permsission. Most people will not be able to afford the land, as well as build a house. Planning laws need to be relaxed, just as they have been in Wales and Scotland, to allow planning in open countryside for eco-houses, or at the very least, allow people to live in less expensive homes such as log cabins that provide ample living conditions, from which projects can be run along-side benefiting families and the community. Compost toilets hugely reduce water usage, natural energy can be utilised, self-sufficiency can be possible, children can explore nature in safety, and communities will re-form in the countryside. If the land can be bought through a not for profit organisation which has an asset lock (you cannot sell the assets) then the land can no longer be sold and used in the destructive system of land investment and environmental destruction of large housing estates and houses not able to support sustainable lives. Small parcels of land, can then have guardianship with the environment as a priority, and passed on through families or other ethically legally bound charities and projects.
What do you think? Any suggestions on how to move forward with this?