Sustainable Development Goals


This website documents a project, exploring Songlines’ potential to map long-term, Nature-based Solutions’ impacts.

Nature-based solutions are rightly presented as a means of safeguarding livelihoods in communities vulnerable to climate change hazards by fostering bio-diverse ecosystems. Thus, they advance multiple Sustainable Development Goals. Monthly project monitoring and evaluation ensures that donor-agreed targets are met during the implementation phase of ecosystem-based adaptation projects. However, deterministic indicators that benchmark 2-5-year EbA projects do not evaluate long-term changes to livelihoods and biodiversity (Bours et al. 2014).

Songlines might chart the learning and long-term impacts

associated with Nature-based Solutions.



Alice Oswald refers to her poem Dart as a ‘a river-map of voices, like an aboriginal songline’.

The voices of workers, animals, water and spirits are channeled into this singing of the River Dart. 

Dart traces how water, a shared resource,  animates human and biotic communities.

The Oswoldian poet uses the injunction ‘Listen!’, signalling how it is critical to become receptive to the chorus of voices shaping any watershed.

This project arises from the question:

  • What if poetic songlines were used to chart long-term change in communities participating in Nature-based Solutions?

Natura Naturans

 Natura Naturans (Nature nurturing), is a concept that anticiaptes the term ‘Nature-based Solutions’.

Nature nurtures actively; for instance, through mineral weathering, biological processes or spring floods. These phenomena are paced by reaction rates, life cycles and cosmic periodicities.

If people recognise themselves as part of nature, they might cultivate the land, sustainably, working at rhythms that respond to these rates, cycles and periodicities.

This ethos of sustainability guides actions defined as Nature-based Solutions, which further human well-being and biodiversity.

Charting Community Voices

A poet’s listening to a chorus of community voices within catchments is a way of mapping how people within a community are listening; what the focus of their listening is, and how it changes over time.

If a songline is made with these voices, might it cultivate a collective Nature-focused listening, within communities and in a wider political arena?

Like ecosystems, poetry is shaped by  multiple rhythms.

  • Might listening to rhythms in poetic song train people’s receptivity to natural rhythms?

The root of rhythm is ‘flow’ in Ancient Greek.

Can we re-learn how people work with nature’s flows, listening to the rhythms that pace them for the common good?