Sue Stuart-Smith

This content is part of the digital section of the museum called VIRIDITAS, created to offer the public a tool to enrich their gaze towards the climate change.

Climate change involves many forms of loss. The one that I am most immediately aware of in our garden is the decline in insects, particularly bees, flies, ladybirds, wasps, moths and butterflies. Whilst I plant as many flowers as possible that encourage biodiversity and support pollinator activity, still there is noticeably less humming and buzzing in the garden than there used to be. Culturally, we have come to categorise many insects as pests, whilst discounting the fact that they support the ecosystems that support us in vital and irreplaceable ways. Insect activity underpins the whole of life on this planet and without them to pollinate fruits and vegetables, the world will face appalling famine. Dramatic declines in insect populations are currently being measured all around the world. Why is this happening? The causes are multi-factorial and include overuse of pesticides, habitat loss, light pollution and rising temperatures. Insects support life in many different ways, for example gardens that are planted to encourage insects also act as safe houses for birds. Most of the personal actions we can make against climate change are invisible in terms of their impact but this one is different. If you plant your garden to support wildlife, nature rebounds and the changes happen quite quickly. I love to stand and watch pollination in action as in this video clip. Each time it feels precious.



SUE STUART-SMITH is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, listed as one of the 37 best books of 2020 by The Times and gardening book of the year by The Sunday Times. Sue Stuart-Smith worked in the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. She currently teaches at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London and is a consultant at DocHealth, a not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for doctors. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over thirty years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire.