The idea of becoming ‘rooted’ is not a plea for any sort of return to a primitive existence, or a denial of science and technology, or even a denial of city living, which may be the most sustainable way of life for the large numbers of human beings currently on earth, but it is a recognition that we need to find ways of feeling and expressing this sense of being ‘rooted’ within the life of the modern city. So, we need to discover the natural world, even in this world of cars and tarmac and learn to cherish it with a sacred duty. We need to search for a deeper sense of human community and mutual responsibility for the natural world even within the diverse and creative dynamics of city life.
In my home city of Bristol we have a burgeoning underclass of people who are self-consciously looking for a new way of life, who prize ‘community’ in a broad and inclusive sense and actively seek harmony with the natural world. These are the ‘rooted’ people. Their spirituality is shaped by their search for a different way of life. They ‘believe’ another way is possible and are committed to try to live this out.
Cities have very similar dynamics all across the world. If we can crack what it means to live as a sustainable city region, we may have the answer to the global problem. And its heart may be in changing our attitude to the world around us. If we were to place a rediscovery of rootedness at the heart of our modern agenda, we would discover a multitude of new ways of relating to nature and to each other that were deeply enriching to our humanity, while encouraging a way of life in harmony with the earth.
I shall shortly be posting some examples of ‘rooted’ city people on this blog.