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What can we learn from listening to the land?

21st December, 2021 by Guest

Inspiring talks on walking from cultures all over the world

If you've not already heard of Flourishing Diversity, their work is well worth exploring. They organise events and initiatives that bring people together from all over the world, including from many cultures who don't generally get enough airtime. The aim is to discuss how to collectively bring about positive and interconnected futures.

Laura Tyley from Flourishing Diversity got in contact. She could see connections between Slow Ways and a series of talks she helped to organise called Living Nature: Art, Science and Indigenous Knowledge, and especially the Listening to the Land session. Contributors spoke about the importance of walking journeys to their relationships with nature.

Below are some highlights from the event, including thoughts from pilgrims, the head of a village in Finland and a Ghanian photographer. Thanks Laura!

Tongues in trees

Peace pilgrim and life-long activist Satish Kumar (who spent two and a half years journeying through 15 countries on a 8000-mile peace walk) told us that to do right by the land, we must learn to read the book of nature and hear tongues in trees, books in running brooks and sermons in stones.

You know Shakespeare got it. He said 'Tongues in trees. Books in running brooks. Sermons in stones. And good in everything.'

Satish Kumar

Modern pilgrimage

COP26 pilgrim Jolie Booth offered wisdom on the expansiveness of listening to the land. This is something she personally experienced whilst walking the Belinus leyline, known as ‘The Spine of Albion’, on a 500-mile modern-day pilgrimage from London to Glasgow.

Finnish cosmology

Dr. Tero Mustonen is head of the village of Selkie in North Karelia, Finland. Tero is a passionate defender of the traditional worldview and the cosmology of his people. He offered stories from his lands that sparked reflections on life’s interconnectivity, fragility, resilience and adaptability. 

Searching for solutions

Nii Obodai is a Ghanian photographer who is committed to documenting the diversity of the world through photography, audio and text. He’s noticed, from connecting with many different landscapes and cultures, that we always have more in common than we think. Nii believes we are often carrying kindred stories and collectively searching for similar solutions. 

These are just a few of the insights shared in this inspiring one-hour conversation, so we invite you to sit back and enjoy more insights and wisdom in the full recording of ‘Listening To The Land’.

If this all gets you thinking about what you have learned from listening to the land, please share your responses with Flourishing Diversity via Instagram or email

Categorised under Video, Article and tagged as Flourishing Diversity, Satish Kumar, Jolie Booth, Tero Mustonen, Nii Obodai, Pilgrimage.

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