Thanks to mythology and legends, reports about bog bodies and other accidents, mires were and are still seen as dark and terrifying places—lifeless, unoccupied, morbid sceneries one better avoids.
Trying to overcome and make useable what has been perceived as a dreadful environment, people started to drain swamps in the 18th century in order to acquire new land area for both agricultural, forestry, and residential purposes. Thereby, peat was and is excavated also serving as a fossil fuel and substratum.¹
At first glance, the converted and productive land appears to be well-functioning.
The Little Lad in the Fen
How creepy it is to cross through the fen When it’s billowing with haze, Mists writhing like phantoms, Bine weaving through bushes; Up squirts a springlet beneath every step When hissing and singing come from the gap. How eerie it is to cross through the fen When the reed bank rustles in the breeze.
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, 1842
Looking closer however, we realize that peatland’s drainage destroys unique biodiversity and habitats,² damages a type of wetlands which is among the most valuable ecosystems on earth.³ Climate-wrecking gases like CO2, which have been stored in peatland’s layers for thousands of years, are released.⁴ We realize we should start to see mires differently—not as scary settings, not as beautiful landscape but as something we have to preserve and restore to avoid climate change.
Peatlands cover less than 3% of the global land surface but contain twice as much carbon as forests. Peatland conservation and restoration is essential to locking away CO2. Besides, healthy peatlands and mires reduce the impact of climate change as they regulate water flows, reduce flooding and droughts.
Fighting climate change and biodiversity loss the comig decade is defined as a crucial window for achieving progress. In order to be successfull both coordinated, global efforts and local actions are required addressing climate change and biodiversity loss integratedly. Thereby, nature-based solutions are playing a key role to make efficient progress possible. Increasing awareness for urgent issues and building capacity allowing for nature-based solutions' implementation is an important milestone in addressing current questions refering to governments, businesses, and communities as well. Demonstrating the effectiveness of nature-based solutions however is not enough. More evidence is needed to enhance previous findings while a growing range of tools to advise on best practice should be used.⁵
This digital exhibition space is a documentation of the three weeks residency program »Paludikultur Residenz 2020« taking place in August and September 2020.