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It was a giant meteor which did for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Measuring several kilometers across, the meteor crashed into planet Earth near the area we now know as Mexico. The impact was catastrophic, causing a huge tsunami and sending tons of rubble into the atmosphere, blocking out much of the sunlight for months.
In the absence of sunlight, plants began to die. Herbivores, which were dependent on plants for their food source, began to die. And carnivorous dinosaurs, which in turn depended upon herbivores as their food source, began to die.
Over time, the Earth began to stabilise itself following the meteor impact. And it was plant life which sowed the basis for recovery. Plant seeds are remarkably resilient and can remain viable for years. So, gradually, life on the planet began to flourish once again. A new equilibrium was established, one which did not feature dinosaurs.
As you read this, probably in lockdown or self-isolation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you may well have become more aware recently of the non-human life around us. The insects in your garden and the chatter of birdsong around you may well have taken on a deeper relevance and significance of late.
You may also have seen images and videos online of animals beginning to venture into deserted urban areas – kangaroos in Australia, goats and deer in the UK, wild boar in Italy, rare tigers in India.
What we are seeing is a glimpse of how the planet might look if it started to establish a new equilibrium after homo sapiens goes the way of the dinosaurs. Except, in our case, we still have a chance to influence what happens next.
If coronavirus has a lesson for us it is surely this: if we want a different ending to the human story then we have to change. We have to ditch our arrogant plundering of this planet’s resources and understand and accept our humble – and fragile – place in the world. We need to learn to live in sustainable and peaceful coexistence with all other life around us.
This is not, and never has been, about saving the planet. The planet is showing us right now that it is perfectly capable of looking after itself. It is about saving our own species.
Making your own granola is very easy and inexpensive and tastes far superior to bought versions. It will store in a sealed container for several weeks.
In this recipe I used whatever store cupboard ingredients I had to hand, so do feel free to vary the ingredients according to what you have available. If you don’t have coconut oil for example, try olive oil (or, for a non-vegan version, melted butter). Similarly, instead of maple syrup you could use honey or brown sugar. Once you’ve made your own granola you’ll never go back to buying it!
250 g rolled oats
100 g mixed nut, roughly chopped (I used pecans, almonds and hazelnuts)
50 g pumpkin seeds
50 g sunflower seeds
100 g dried fruit, (I used sultanas, cranberries and chopped dates)
100 ml maple syrup
65 g coconut oil
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (300°F, gas mark 2). Place the oats, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflowers in a large mixing bowl.
2. Place the maple syrup, sea salt and coconut oil in a large pan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, until the coconut oil has melted. Carefully pour it over the oats, nuts and seeds in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly, then tip this mixture evenly onto a shallow baking tray and place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until golden, giving the granola a stir every so often to encourage even cooking.
3. Remove the granola from the oven, and carefully tip into a clean mixing bowl. Leave to cool completely, then stir in the sultanas and the cinnamon. Store in a sealed container.