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World Environment Day – an interview with a ‘Plant Whisperer’

We asked Simone, founder of the organisation ‘Plant Whisper’ on sustainable business, how looking after the environment helps business and her thoughts on World Environment day.

Plant Whisper is a platform entirely dedicated to conscious environmentalism, re-wilding and rebranding the human by dismantling the concept that the human is separate from nature and a destroyer of the earth.

Can you tell me about ‘The Plant Whisperer’ – where did the idea come from and how has working with Junction Point helped you to progress your idea?

The name of my organisation is ‘Plant Whisper’ and I am known by those who work with me as ‘the plant whisperer’. Plant Whisperers are people who communicate directly with plants. The concept has ancient shamanic roots and it comes from an animist way of relating to our environment (as a living breathing world which is in constant communication with us). The plant whisperers nowadays in our culture are the herbalists, the foragers, the wildcrafters, the botanists, the permaculture practitioners…all people who have developed the ability to hear the subtle teachings of plants (which are really the ways of nature expressed through the plant kingdom). This capacity however, is something we can all develop simply by spending more time relating to plants. And that work of reconnecting is part of what I do.

Junction Point helped me to see that businesses can be sustainable and of service to a greater cause than just money, targets and figures. Businesses can be nourishing to the community rather than exploiting and most importantly in order to have a successful business I don’t have to neglect my passion and talent as my parents did in order to raise me and afford the cost of living. I can do what I love and what matters to me for a job and at the same time encourage positive change in my communities. On a more practical level Junction Point supported me to create a pilot event which was at a larger scale than any of my previous ones. In it I brought together many strands of my offerings, attracted more attendees and made collaborative links with various organisations with similar values to my business. This showed me that my business can operate at such a scale and the connections I’ve established, I would carry into the future development of Plant Whisper.

Why do you think it is important for ordinary folks who maybe don’t know anything about plants to learn, and spend time in nature?

Plants are incredible teachers. They teach us about reciprocity, balance and generosity. Without plants there won’t be any life on Earth. They keep our soil healthy, they provide oxygen for us to breathe as well as food, medicine, clothes and shelter. These allies support us on a daily basis without us even noticing. The isolation, poor mental and physical health that is prevalent in the cities can be positively impacted if people are encouraged to develop friendships with the plants in the green spaces in the city and recognise the mutually beneficial relationship that we can have. As we become more aware of the positive impact of such practices as forest bathing and outdoor nature activities on human physical and mental health, who is to say that trees and weeds do not enjoy and benefit by our alert and respectful presence around them.

What are your thoughts on days like ‘World Environment Day’? Are they helpful? Do they raise awareness?

I think world environment day is another product of globalisation which is the cause for a lot of environmental devastation and if not for all then for most of the environmental issues we face nowadays. The concept is sweet but I think that everyday of our lives should be world environment day. Everyday we should be living, investing and thinking in sustainable ways which are in harmony with nature. One day of the year is not enough.

How can caring about our environment and taking better care of our planet help businesses?

Fundamentally any economic model which is not founded on the intrinsic balance found in nature cannot be sustained for long because of the negative impact on the Earth. And the fact that the public awareness of this is increasing exponentially means that environmentally negligent businesses that want to exist beyond the short term will not only be economically unsustainable but will also lose public confidence as more people seek to invest in businesses that nourish the health of our planet and our communities.

Are there any other activities you are involved in that you would like to raise awareness on?

In early December last year I became a mum and I am faced with the difficult reality of parenting in our culture. There is not enough support for new parents and as I connect to more mums I realise that the “village” which is supposed to hold and nourish parents is not there. I see that new parents feel isolated and stretched beyond their limits, physically and mentally. This is why as I enjoy maternity I am also planning nature activities for families which encourage deeper connection to the green spaces in the city but also foster supportive village/community for parents.

Are there any other things you’d like to mention about your experience working with Junction Point?

I loved meeting other entrepreneurs and hearing their wonderful ideas about purpose-led businesses which can have a positive impact in their communities. In a way working with Junction point has shown me what it is like to be in a “village” again. I really appreciate the supportive community and the inspiration we offer each other.

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