How to Grow Happiness

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
Amelia Earhart

One Earth:

 

“When the last tree has been cut down,
the last fish caught,
the last river poisoned,
only then will we realise that
we cannot eat money.”
Native American saying

Prince Ea (courtesy of National Geographic):

 

“Deviation from nature is deviation from happiness.”
Samuel Johnson

 

 

This week, my post is dedicated to acknowledging the fifty years of work by the well-known naturalist and dedicated tree planter, Prince Charles, who for that reason was invited to make a speech at the Opening Ceremony of the current COP26 summit in Glasgow. There, he urged the world’s decision-makers to “rescue this precious planet and save the threatened future of our young people.” He so far has planted well over two hundred thousand trees and he keeps on planting many more. Prince Charles, as well as his mother, the Queen, and his eldest son, William, are horrified by the deforestation of some parts of the world, especially Brazil and Madagascar, where the wood is burned and some wildlife is threatened with extinction in a short time. The place he has created on his substantial private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, is the envy of the world and an example to which we all should also aspire.

 

QueenMotherStatue2

Some time ago I watched two documentaries that seemingly were not connected. One was about the Duchy of Cornwall, and the other about a now-iconic, 30 years in the running, enterprise where a group of skilled volunteers would demolish and then rebuild a house and garden for those in desperate need of help. Their mantra is: you cannot help everybody but everyone can help someone. Those who are helped are families with severely handicapped children or a disabled grown-up who cannot live at home because of its constraints. That particular day, it was the story of a young mother who had developed hereditary kidney problems and needed dialysis to stay alive. Without rebuilding the house she had to stay in a hospital, while her husband and their four young children missed her. The programme is called DIY SOS, and as I mentioned, on the surface it had no connection to the previously untold inner world of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Scientists call the warm glow that hangs over us after we have helped another human being ‘elevation’. Its effect is far-reaching and it is called –  kindness.

“Elevazione” by Domenico Zipoli (courtesy of Alla Iwanowa):

 

The recent news is full of horror and many other problems worldwide. When I watched those two documentaries, it was obvious that the world would be a better place if we were to follow the guidance of the volunteers and the principles and philosophy of  Prince Charles that are highly praised by those who are fortunate to live in the Duchy of Cornwall. I thought it would be important to share my findings as it is possible to adopt some if not all into our lives.

DIYSOS

When the young woman was brought from the hospital to see her new extended home, with a special room for her daily dialysis, fully medically equipped, and all the rooms in the house beautifully decorated and refurbished, with new furniture, and even new toys for the children, the garden blooming with plants, and a safe space for the children to play, all achieved in nine days, she thanked all volunteers waiting outside for giving her a chance to live longer for her children. Her husband and children told the men how much having her back meant to them. Both she, her husband and the men were in tears. So were, no doubt, the viewers, I certainly was, for such is the power of kindness.

Richard3rd

And so what is special about living in the Duchy of Cornwall? The Duchy of Cornwall was created nearly 700 years ago in 1337 by Edward III for his son and heir, Prince Edward. The current Prince of Wales is the 24th Duke of Cornwall and the longest-serving. In 2012, he celebrated 60 years as Duke. Its 130,000 acres are spread across 23 counties of England, Wales and the Isles of Scilly. At its heart is farmland.

DuchyCornwallHolidayCottages

“Sheep May Safely Graze” by Johann Sebastian Bach (courtesy of Nat Sakimura):

“Sheep may safely graze and pasture
In a watchful Shepherd’s sight.
Those who rule with wisdom guiding
Bring to hearts a peace abiding
Bless a land with joy made bright.”

 

To develop the land, the Duke built two intentionally small towns, Poundbury and Nansledan, to reflect his visionary beliefs that what creates a community is where people know each other, develop strong family links, and support the environment around them. Poundbury is completed and it has four thousand homes. The people who applied to live there and were accepted, have to share Prince Charles’s vision of a peaceful community. The town is built to the highest specification and the attention to detail is clearly evident. Local stones were used as well as local labour, creating jobs that are important in a rural location. The second town is being built at present and has 300 houses ready. Eventually, there will be 10,000 people living here in 4,000 homes.

Inside Poundbury (courtesy of 7NEWS Australia):

 

Poundbury3

Poundbury, above, reflects Prince Charles’ well-known views on the horrors of some modern architecture. All the houses are beautiful in a traditional way.

Poundbury4Some of the grander properties in Poundbury, above, and the elegant terrace houses, below:

Poundbury

The community buildings have a certain grandeur as befits their status in the community:

DuchessOfCornwallInn

Some of the tenant farmers have worked on Duchy land already for four generations and plan to continue for several more. The Duke generously invests in farm buildings and machinery. There are order and beauty in the landscaped fields.  The deadwood of trees is taken away not by machinery but by a tree logger, who dotes on his two horses, mother and daughter, Holly and Ivy. They have a good life, he said, and working that way, they don’t damage the woods in any way.

HollyIvyCobLogging

As I previously highlighted, the Duke has already planted 200,000 trees as he understands the importance of creating woods, and he is planting many more. Only 12% of the UK is woodland compared to an average of 44% in Europe. Trees matter, especially in times of climate change as they soak up carbon from the atmosphere, putting back oxygen in its place. Watching the documentary it became obvious why so many people would wish to live here. As every aspect of the design is thought of, it seems that the Duchy of Cornwall represents a present-day Eden, a place of beauty and safety, and comfortable, stress-free, crime-free living. The high street in Poundbury has all small businesses of old – the butcher, the grocer, the florist, and even a bridal shop run by one talented seamstress.

VegetablesDuchyCornwall

The market stall in Poundbury, above, is full of vegetables organically grown by the farmers of Duchy of Cornwall.  I can vouch that they are excellent because I buy them myself; so is the milk that is produced in the way I remember from my childhood, it isn’t homogenised, with the cream staying at the top. Of course, appropriately the cream goes to the cats, otherwise I could make organic butter. Profits from the sale of many of the organic foods are supporting Prince Charles’ charities, especially the one dedicated to thousands of young people who with funds are able to start their own businesses or develop skills that will give them a future. Again, it is all connected with the Duke’s generosity and kindness. To support his charity The Prince’s Trust, he found many professional, well-known people, one of them being the world-famous interior designer, Kelly Hoppen. Recently in an interview, she said: “Prince Charles is one of the most extraordinary men that I’ve ever met in my life and I think he’s always been much ahead of the curve than people realise. I admire him hugely – he’s got a great sense of humour and he never forgets you or what you do. He is absolutely charming.”

Many previous Dukes of Cornwall led idle lives dedicated to their pleasures only. By contrast,  the current Duke of Cornwall not only vastly improved the Duchy but also set up charities greatly appreciated by many.

ArrallasFarmDuchyCornwall

“The Farmer and his Prince” (courtesy of  DenkmalFilm):

 

Prince Charles has a special interest in creating hedgerows and coppicing as they create a friendly environment for birds and small animals, and they have been turned into an art form. The promotion of traditional crafts is an intended legacy of the Duke. Although the income generated by the Duchy of Cornwall is used to support his family and his many charities, at the core of the Duke’s dealing with people is his kindness. Every year he visits the people living in the Duchy of Cornwall to discuss many projects and has tea in many homes. To show the farmers his appreciation, he invites them to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and thanks them at every opportunity for their work.

“Piano Concerto in A Minor II. Romanza. Andante” by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, played by Claire Huangci (courtesy of German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra – Topic):

 

Below, one more picture of the splendour of Poundbury

Poundbury2

Watching Prince Charles explaining his reasons for planting trees, creating towns that are a haven for the people living there, and for helping farmers to grow an organic harvest that protects the earth from pesticides, I could see the similarities of his philosophy to the beliefs of the shepherd in Jean Giono’s book “The Man Who Planted Trees”. The author’s purpose was to make people love trees, or more precisely, to make them love planting trees, for the man who planted trees grew happiness. Those are the comments of the book’s reviewers. 

Here is one particularly bubbly recommendation of this book! (courtesy of Karolína Šťastná):

 

Another amazing connected story is that of the village of Piplantri in Rajasthan, India, where every time a girl is born there, the villagers plant 111 trees – an auspicious number for local Hindus – to both honour her and to regenerate the environment. The region now has more than 350,000 trees, from mango and gooseberry to sandalwood, neem, peepal and bamboo, growing across the once-barren lands and covering an estimated 1,000 hectares. The head of the village, Shyam Sunder Paliwal, said “Historically, people from this region of Rajasthan are warriors who have never accepted defeat. And neither will we,” before reciting the names of legendary kings the region had produced. “In earlier centuries they fended off attacks, now we fight disease and pollution.” He added, “If you keep working, the results will show and people will join you.”

Courtesy of USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council):

 

Courtesy of Great Big Story:

 

What if everyone planted a tree? (courtesy of BBC Ideas):

 

DuchyHomeFarm

When I was young I believed that intellect and knowledge were of utmost importance in life. Now, I am older and wiser, I know that it is kindness that is above everything else.  And planting trees is the secret of humanity’s ancient kinship with the earth.  

Dear Future Generations: Sorry (courtesy of Prince Ea):

 

“Iza Ngomzo (Come Tomorrow)” by Christopher Tin:

 

70 thoughts on “How to Grow Happiness

  1. Thanks..great words.

    Like

  2. Thank you, eunice, for your kind comment.

    Joanna

    Like

  3. Great post, Joanna. Love the videos and music. Just wonderful.💕❤️💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your kind comment.

    Joanna

    Like

  5. Thank you, Grace, for your generous comment!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My pleasure.💕❤️💕

    Like

  8. That was really nice, also the collection of pictures were beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing, Jaonna😊🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad that you liked the post.

    Joanna

    Like

  10. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  11. There’s a new documentary called Becoming Jacques Cousteau. I saw it recently. Cousteau recognized the damage being done to our planet, and made it his mission to let the world know about these huge problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for your kind comment. Jacques Cousteau did an excellent job but nothing changed. Now the summit might have a chance but only time will tell.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  14. One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.

    Even before another jewel of an essay takes off the Joanna coast, with examples that will leave one teary eyed, we get a glimpse of a nature writer par excellence and resolve to fight this war by weaponising our minds with intent and knowledge and love for what our plant is known for and sustained by, that is nature.

    Joanna’s persistent call is no less than a police siren, that makes us itch to do more each week, to not only save nature, but serve it.

    Story of prince Charles gives a beautiful peak into his life and the life he has all long nurtured, an exception of a man who has done as much even while sitting at a position of responsibility. And i am not being satirical.

    As i read this article last night, i felt strange, i did not know if i was moved or was there something wrong. And well, i still do not know. But we, as her readers, her blog’s followers know where her heart lies; and almost nothing might make her happy than a beautiful garden, or a story of kindness, more a big blooming tree.

    Hence, to only add to her extraordinary article, she would be happy to know about a 110- Year old Indian woman from Karnataka, still living, Saalumarada Thimmakka, who till now has planted over 8000 trees. In 2019, she received Padma Sri, India’s 4th highest civilian award, and many other awards for planting over 400 Banyan trees along a highway in Karnataka.

    I am hopeful that we too in months and years coming become the change that we want to see. I heartily thank Joanna for her determination and her approach in awakening us one and all. Thank you so much.

    Narayan x

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Thank you, Narayan, for your wonderful and insightful as always comments. Thank you also for letting me know about this very
    special Indian woman, whose age is proof that you live a long life if you do things for others.
    I can only hope that Glasgow’s summit help us all in protecting and saving our beautiful and unique planet.

    Joanna x

    Like

  16. As always, a remarkable post! I’m sure Prince Charles will make an amazing future king. It’s no surprise that William and his children are so concerned about the environment. All credits to the Prince of Wales for his altruistic actions and great concern for the world. Poundbury seems like a wonderful town with all those aesthetically pleasing buildings and trees. I’ve heard about the village in Rajasthan before. It’s a wonderful initiative they’ve taken up. In a similar instance, a forest belt was nearly destroyed in Northeast India and the villagers took it into their hands to restore the forest by planting thousands of trees and the forest is back!
    Truly enjoyed this informative post. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Thank you again, Narayan, I greatly appreciate your comments.

    Joanna x

    Like

  18. Thank you, Sam, for your most generous comments! The village in Rajasthan is very special indeed. Apart from planting the trees,
    they learned how to make oil from the aloe vera and now have a prosperous business. The example of the villages in Northeast
    India is an inspiring case for all of us to follow.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  20. Dear Joanna, you show your passion and heart for the natural world in this wonderful post! We, your readers, love you for it! You are a teacher also, as I did not know much about Poundbury or Nansleden. Again, you have added some lovely music to play as we read. Enjoy your weekend. 🌹💖💐💝😘🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I loved the way you linked the nature and plantations with happiness. That is so apt to say. I’m really impressed with the vision and charitable works of Prince Charles. You have rightly stated that Dutchy of Cornwell represents Eden. If I’m not mistaken, this was also referred to in the serial “The Crown” on Netflix. Have you seen it or lived there, Joanna?

    It’s also pleasing to know that only 12% of UK is woodland. I’m so glad that you have discussed about Piplantri. It’s courage and determination of one person who decided to turn his village of the arid zone into an oasis. Paliwal’s fight was against adverse sex ratio and chronic drought. He started schemes both for girls’ financial security and water conservation. He was conferred with Padma Shri award.

    I think in one of your posts, you had mentioned Jadav Payeng, the forest man of India, who turned the barren land into a lush green forest in Majuli, near Jorhat in Assam. Both cases establish the power of one. If you start a good job, people would join hands on their own.

    In all, again an informative and interesting post with beautiful quotes and videos. Your love for nature is really appreciable. Thank you so much, Joanna for time and efforts that you put in week after week for bringing out such unique and meaningful posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you, Kaushal, for your fantastic comments!! I have not seen “The Crown”. I have never been to Duchy of Cornell but
    I buy their products as they are superb. I am very pleased that this wonderful visionary of a man, Paliwal, was recognized
    with the Padma Shri award. You are quite right that collectively with the politicians, we just might save Earth from impending
    disaster.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you again, Kaushal, I greatly appreciate your comments.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dear Ashley, I in return love readers like you!! I am so glad that you liked the beautiful town in Duchy of Cornwell. Today’s topic of talks at Glasgow’s summit is Nature, my favourite interest and the subject of my writing.
    Have a lovely weekend too!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you again, Ashley, I greatly appreciate your comments.

    Joanna

    Like

  26. You’re welcome. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Like

  27. Great post, Joanna. I was totally unaware of Prince Charles’ philanthropy toward the Earth. How fascinating. Indeed, we all must use our gifts and talents to protect what remains of our environment. I don’t believe the majority of the mega-wealthy will change their ways, and most politicians yield to money and power, so it’s down to us! Thank you for helping get the word out. 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thank you, Lisa, for your generous comments. The politicians need to be involved and they will be. The thousands of young people marching through Glasgow for two days will make sure of that! We still have a chance, and even the very young people are determined to save the planet and their future.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  30. JoAnna, A gorgeous and inspiring post! It gives me hope that planting trees can help to restore pure water and air. The story of the Indian village where girls are shown respect by planting trees in their honor and where the water and air are now healthy and clean is truly amazing beyond anything I have ever heard before.

    Honestly, I had not heard much about Prince Charles’s environmental activism. I have gained enormous respect for him as a result of this post. He has made a meaningful life’s work whether he ever becomes king or not. Too much time has been spent making light of him!

    I even enjoyed the rapper. Wonderfully informative and persuasive!

    Wishing you a pleasant week ahead! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Thank you, Dear Cheryl, for your spirit-lifting and heart-warming comments! You are right about underestimating the work of
    Prince Charles, especially now. The Indian village is an example to us all that if we pull together there is a chance of success.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you, Dear Cheryl, I greatly appreciate your comments.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I love everything about this post, Joanna, along with the significant message. Thank you! ❤️

    Like

  34. Thank you, Lauren, for your very kind comment! The talks are still going on but what will be the end result, we don’t know.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Thank you again, Lauren. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Maybe there needs to be more doing and less talking. I don’t know…

    Like

  37. You’re very welcome, Joanna!

    Like

  38. I liked the way you connected environment with happiness. The collection of videos shown is great, especially the one by Prince Ea. I hope strict actions are taken and people change themselves.

    Like

  39. Thank you, Khushi, for your very kind comment! You are right that it is our collective responsibility, and that includes all the governments
    in the world.

    Joanna

    Like

  40. Thank you, Khushi, again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  41. You’ve taught us so many beautiful things in this post.
    Nature and happiness are forever, deeply linked.
    Change can start with only one person.
    Eden is possible if we work together.
    Kindness is the ultimate super-spreader event we should all be part of….
    Thank-you 🌎❤️

    Like

  42. Thank you, Rose, for your wonderful comments; analytical and beautifully presented. You said change can start with only one person -this could be Vinisha Umashankar, one of the finalists of the EarthShot Prize. She said: “I am not just a girl from India, I’m a girl from Earth… We won’t wait
    for you! We will lead even if you don’t. We will act even if you delay. We will build aven if you are stuck in the past.”
    That is the spirit of youth!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Thank you, Rose, again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  44. I love the Earhart quote! Thank you for this nice post.

    Like

  45. Thank you, Dorothy, for your kind comment!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Such an inspiring post and so rich, thank you Joanna!
    Inspiring and loving kindness is our biggest message to send, I Soooo agree.

    💖

    Like

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