Image: labwork, petridish, green microbial jelly.
Symbio wen

Wen ~ PIE root for wound.

The deliberate harm of life-giving symbiotic processes.

To knowingly block, engineer, or interfere with these processes in any life-negative way.

Once it is done, harmful consequences may be partially or fully unknowable.

To commit symbiowen is to risk much, though may be justified, arguably, as an ethic of care in certain special and unique circumstances intended to sustain life.



Staring at the mycelium-split quarry face, I see you, rosy woodlouse, gliding across the Mocktree lime. Lightning streaks across the ridge above the wild ash giants, phasing all, and we wait stock-still, just for a moment, drenched in white light. Blinded by the crystal mural on the old, hot, sea bed like a rainbow, rain plunges around our antennae in a wet bomb. So we hide in the fault lines of this shot-blasted corner hewn by labouring men buried in the village churchyard. Ancient Silurian reef sands once storm-washed into our bumping fissure from the closing Iapetus 430 million years behind us, and again just like us. And in the quiet, in the darkness, we can taste primordial life a billion years old, touch the symbiotic mother-daughter cells, and feel the broken trilobites, our very own ancestors, calcified into stone-memory as perfection of extinction. 
      We smell the water honing vertically, as if we are magnetised to rods, to form our own unique streak along the deepest roots of those toppling giants, roots now lashing about and down to hold on to life itself. The streak - pulled, cool glass - we spill over the edge, the Wenlockian roseate coral edge, and we flow flush with all the genes into the sump where farm and road junk was dragged out a few years back. Dainty oxalis now grow out of the bog beside a rising pool - is where the black Norman fallow come to drink; see all their hoof prints and ticks, and where the overspill leaks through the old kiln walls and across an A4113 slope that freezes rough in winter. Waves of flat sheets, we creep through roadkill pheasants, squeeze through rubber tyre treads, until we soak the road-salt into a sheep valley above the Saxon ghost kings of Kinton. Magnets once more, we attract the bound-water into a now-nameless brook, and gush through a concrete culvert built cut-cost by volume house builders. 
      Life-water! It is devotion, this risk we take. Flow on to the Teme, the Severn, the Severn Sea, to the Irish and away to the Atlantic, to those big volatile skies rushing back to Mocktree.


A short passage from "Rivering," a work in progress, photos by me.

Symbioethics – Publication!

I’m very happy to inform readers that a Chapter introducing my neologism symbioethics has been published in a new anthology by Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia, Spain. I begin by setting the word within the general canon of environmental ethics or ecophilosophy, and then I call for more research into areas of symbiosis and symphysica as a form of welldoing for wellbeing.

I hope to open up hearts and minds to the basic, natural “symial” and fluministic processes that sustain life in abundance and diversity, and I ask all to apply this understanding in areas including, but also beyond, conservation, not least in language and art, other cultural forms of communication, but also spanning education to peace studies, architecture to space exploration, artificial intelligence to issues of planetary “One Health”, genetics, and more.

The work sits with an international and trans-disciplinary group of highly esteemed researchers and writers from the world of Ecological Humanities, Social Sciences, Economics, and Cultural Studies, with an editorial emphasis on togetherness, anti-anthropocentrism, equity, and eco-socialism. So I am seriously honoured to have been invited to participate! I offer my sincere thanks to the publishers, editors, and fellow contributors for this wonderfully positive, thought-provoking collaboration. The biosphere is desperate for more positive action!

Last but not least, many thanks and abundant love to my daughter Gracie who, having just turned 18, translated a difficult piece during a complicated time last year (just after my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment), under the watchful guidance of the great and compassionate Dr Jorge Riechmann, whose own marvellous book Simbioética was also published last year. I also recommend this book wholeheartedly, and I am extremely grateful to him for his support. 

“Humanidades ecológicas – hacia un humanismo biosférico” is edited by José Albelda, Fernando Arribas-Herguedas, and Carmen Madorrán, and is available to buy now, including a digital version, via the website, or may be ordered through any good and independent bookshop.