Is this how you picture the Garden of Paradise: that mythic, perfect place from which shame caused humankind to be forever banished? Probably not.
Personally, I do not have time for dogma founded on guilt, but I do have time for the Eden Project, one of Britain’s most ambitious Millennium schemes that in the year 2000 saw an abandoned Cornish china clay quarry transformed into a world-famous visitor attraction and charity.
The photo above, raided once more from the Team Leader’s files, was taken that year inside the Rainforest Biome. This extraordinary Sci-Fi structure is apparently twice as high as Big Ben, and planted with more than 1,000 species. In this audacious new world, pests and diseases are managed with an array of biological controls, including bugs that eat other bugs, birds and lizards. It is an on-going experiment in life management.
The man behind Eden in all senses is Tim Smit, Netherlands-born, British entrepreneur. He conceived the idea while working on the restoration of the Lost Gardens of Heligan also in Cornwall. Both these enterprises have not only enthused and informed millions of visitors from all over the planet, but injected millions of pounds into Cornwall’s struggling economy. Like an infinity of interlinked hexagons, it has been having a multiplier effect.
Eden’s creator, Tim Smit. Photo: Creative Commons (source Tim Smit)
And what is Eden Project saying to us?
“plants give us our food, fuel, materials and medicines”
“plants are part of a wider ecosystem that provides our water and air”
“the natural world can be beautiful, relaxing and inspiring”
“In a changing world, we need imagination and enterprise; we need to foster our skills and talents; we need communities to get engaged in inventing new, more sustainable ways of living together.”
As a belief system to live by, I can accept all of these propositions. Now see the video of some Eden’s ideals in action: