Ecology sees our world as an ever-changing web of energy and matter. Patterns appear and disappear. Life grows and dies. We look at our world through the lenses, each lens illuminates an aspect of the whole. These notes, inspired by the I Ching, look at a selection of contrasting ideas which can help us to act mindfully in our world.


Our ability to work together towards a future goal is one of things that makes human. Throughout the Coronavirus emergency we have shown that we can change our behaviour to protect each other from harm. We set ourselves goals. We measure our success against those goals.

As the global climate emergency becomes clearer, we set ourselves goals. The science is clear: we need to act now to reduce carbon emissions to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5°C. The interim Devon Carbon Plan sets two goals and sets out stepping stones on this path:

By 2030: reduce Devon’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of their 2010 totals.

By 2050: make Devon net-zero; for every ton of carbon dioxide we emit, we capture an equal amount in our farmlands, forests, peatlands, Culm Grasslands and our seas.

Goals help us to work together and set targets to measure our success.


Communication helps us to understand each other, helps us to co-ordinate our actions, helps us to modify our actions.

The Devon Carbon Plan has been evolving since the middle of 2019. In November and December 2019 there were meetings which focused on the major parts of our society which produce emissions. Ending in March 2020 there was a public call for evidence “providing some detailed, insightful ideas of how Devon can reach net-zero carbon.” In December 2020 an interim Devon Carbon Plan was published. This was followed by public webinars about each of the main topics (Energy, Transport, etc) and an online questionnaire (which is open until the 15th of February). Controversial ideas in the Plan will be discussed by an online Citizen’s Assembly of 70 people in the summer 2021 before the Plan is finalised.

Goal and Communication

Goals are only beneficial if correct. The goals that we worked for in the past have led us to the present climate emergency. In our linked webs of action and reaction our goals may need modifying as we proceed. We grow maize to produce bio-fuel and then learn that maize production can lead to soil erosion. We plant trees in the right places, we learn that peatlands and Culm Grasslands also capture carbon. We learn that building wooden-framed houses stores carbon.

We learn the communication is an important goal in itself. 


This article was published on page 24 in issue #70 of ReConnect Magazine 


follow Hartstongue on social media


Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram LinkedIn