Close To The Earth – St Helena Island


No matter how you feel, Get up. Look up. Show up. And never give up. He’s got a cowboy hat on you see, so that’s me. My name is Stedson Stroud, and I’m from the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. The island of St Helena – it’s a tiny spot in the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s the top of a mountain in the sea hundreds of miles from anywhere. We’ve got stark coastline, high cliffs jutting out of the sea. But in the middle you’ve got this tranquil green paradise. If heavens like this, then I want to go. I don’t think there are a lot of people who know how special this island is to the world. We have more biodiversity here on these 47 square miles than the whole of the UK and its 13 other overseas territories put together. Being a conservationist and a botanist, I’m always out in the fields. And I walked upon plants that were thought to be extinct. These are endemic to St Helena, grew nowhere else in the world. I was able to help establish them back into the wild populations of the endemic plants of St Helena. I grew up like a wild boy. From the time I’d get up, I’d be out in the hills and the fields discovering, foraging. We were brought up very close to the land. There’s not a lot you could buy, so you had to do it yourself. And you didn’t take what you don’t need. You always put back more than you take. And that’s a lovely way to live. A lot of medicines are in the food that you eat. Like ginger and tumeric, lemongrass and fumetary, and that sort of stuff. And we’re losing it fast, all this lovely knowledge, and that’s what I’m a bit worried about. And this is what my grandmother used to give you, anytime of the day. You’ve got stresses and strains of the day? Have a cup of Balmagilly tea boy. Get this down you, and you’ll be alright. I bet you’re itching to get your tastebuds around this. If it’s one of the legacies I’d like to leave behind, is to teach young people to start to live off the land. Don’t just go to the shop everytime you need something. There’s a lot of plant life out there. I’ve had lots of proud moments in my life. But out of the blue one time, a call came through, and it was the Governor who said, Stedson, would you accept an MBE for all the good work that you have done for the environment. And I said yes of course. And there we are, Queen Elizabeth. Lovely lady, she was talking to me all the time. You can see the smile on my face. That was one of the moments of my life really. If we can save what we’ve got from extinction so that future generations can carry on from where we have left off that is my aim. I would like to be remembered that I lived close to the earth as possible. And that I looked after the earth. Here lies Stedson, who looked after the earth for future generations. To all of you who have contributed, for those of you who have shared our films, for those of you who have written out comments, this journey is just beginning. And we’ve put a Patreon link below our films, so if you’d like to continue to support us we’d love for you to donate below. Thanks so much.

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