Rewild Yourself Champion 2024/

Pandora Thomas

Pandora is a caregiver; for her mother, from whom she inherited clear principles of stewardship and love for non-human kin, and for the Earth. She is also an environmental educator, writer, designer, and speaker, facets that all found a home at EARTHseed Permaculture Center and Farm, in Sonoma County, California, founded by Pandora. It is a place for black communities to find their own home in Nature. Pandora’s work highlights the benefits of applying ecological principles to social design, supporting those that need it most, for the benefit of us all.

Check back soon to watch our conversation with Pandora Thomas

How does time in Nature, and feeling connected to Nature, help you personally?

“When you come to EARTHseed, it’s a magical feeling: quiet and peaceful. It’s like coming home. There are more trees than humans, more animals than humans. There just isn’t the stress, it’s blurred out. Once we start seeing Nature as our home, it can start healing and nurturing us. For black communities, part of that is seeing other people that look like us. It was working with Redwoods which really helped me personally, made me realise I don’t have to remain hidden. It was a sort of recalibration. It reinforced my love of the Earth, of our communities; everything as a package. You can’t separate it.”

What advice do you have for people looking for a better connection with Nature?

“My advice is less about things to do outside of yourself, but really about starting with your own stories and experience. When I work with groups, I often start with ‘Sankofa’, an African Grenadine concept. It’s about knowing where we came from in order to move forward. It starts with one personal memory of Earth connection, often from childhood, then I get people to think about a culture or group they are part of, and think of a connection between that group and the Earth. There is no such thing as not being connected to Nature. You are Nature. Rediscover your roots. These meditations or affirmations are a great place to start.”

 

What changes would you like to see to help more people access Nature and build positive, nurturing relationships with it?

I would say community driven resiliency planning. This is pretty much everything I do…empowering the actual people dealing with the ‘thing’, and starting with the resources they already have access to. This includes even assessing what communities actually feel ‘Nature’ is. If you start with communities, with them driving that process, whatever you do will be authentic. Now, communities don’t always have the answers, but at least they can identify priorities, then they will usually say “we need expertise in ABC to achieve them.” Will that be more expensive and more time consuming at first? Sure, because we don’t do things that way, but we eventually develop those resources.

 

Find out more about Pandora Thomas and her work:

Pandora’s Website

EARTHseed Website

Voice for Nature Foundation

ReWild Yourself is an initiative from the Voice for Nature Foundation, a charity working to reconnect people everywhere with the natural world.

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