I began Big City, Little Homestead (BCLH) as a blog called “Biophilia” in 2010. It was a passion project for a few years. BCLH was all about home economics, gardening, and sustainable living, with renovations and DIY projects thrown in. It wasn’t clear to me how to professionalize it, when so many other blogs about DIY and living close to the land were out there. I didn’t want to annoy my visitors with ads, given that the money they would generate would be a pittance, and it would clog up my already-cluttered page. All I wanted was to write, in my style, about appreciating nature, wild plants and animals, and bringing country back into city life. I hoped to reach a few readers.
Interest and passion are not enough to sustain an effort without further rewards. Given that I didn’t have a blogging strategy or goal, I tapered off. Taking a break made me realize that my interests are not unique; and I could combine them into a project-based service that nicely fit with the philosophy of the blog.
The best way to protect nature is to live close to it. Given how much we need nature to survive, let alone thrive, nothing upsets me more than people developing green, non-urban land. We need to put nature back everywhere we took it away. It’s not ironic that one of the biggest side effects of doing so is the feeling of peace and happiness one gets from living in the centre of a green space!
This is the small-scale version of what The Rewilding Institute is about. Their mission is:
To develop and promote the ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation in North America, particularly the need for large carnivores and a permeable landscape for their movement, and to offer a bold, scientifically credible, practically achievable, and hopeful vision for the future of wild Nature and human civilization in North America.
The idea of a permeable landscape is what we need to create, with green corridors that animals can move through, everywhere we are. The positive reactions of people when wild animals do pass through or move back into our towns lead me to believe we want to expand our tolerance of nature and share our space with it. We don’t always know how.
Not everyone has the space or inclination to be a permaculture hippie with their homes and public space. Identifying with an urban image is still important, right? People who like the clean lines and forms of shrubs surrounded by white gravel bordered by weeded pavers, also tend to like it when butterflies and birds visit. All it takes is a few changes for this to happen.
Let’s reconnect design so that people find beauty in the artful but necessary mess that wildlife requires. Let’s make clean lines natural again, and celebrate the Japanese maple with a blazing trail of ground cover and moss-covered ground, filling in the spaces between pavers.
Let’s accommodate insects, butterflies, birds, and small animal urban wildlife with native plants and perennials, be gentle with creatures who take up residence – even those we’d like to move on. And in the off-season, let’s water the birds and squirrels that come by, and cozy up by the low-emission fireplace (and incandescent lamplight). We could even Netflix and craft.