“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” – Jane Goodall
The way we carry out our relationship towards nature will ultimately determine our own fate. So long as there is a disconnect and disregard towards natural ecology those who inhabit this Earth will be the ones to suffer. But nature itself will be fine and will continue thrive no matter what. I have wanted to write this for some time but have been hesitant, so as to not lend people the idea that all is well enough and to sit back and relax. So instead, I published the article titled A Severed Relationship. I intend for this post to put that into context.
When I speak of nature losing, I speak of primarily a loss of interconnected awareness and biodiversity, which now requires a great deal of human renunciation and reparation. It is our collective choices that will determine the comfort of our existence and that of children’s and so on. Also, those who have contributed least to our environmental problems, such as climate change and habitat destruction, will be the ones to suffer the most (small indigenous peoples of the world’s few remaining wild places and of course wildlife). When we carry out our day to day lives, the regard for nature and nature’s needs is often absent or in very least minimal. How do you regard or connect to nature on a daily basis?
Often people feel that to go into nature they need to go someplace out there. Dualistically we behave as is if somehow we are separate, and that we need to go someplace else, drive somewhere and then we will be in nature. But nature is not out there. Nature does not begin at the park, woods or at a trailhead. We are always in nature; never separate. We are nature. Our homes and our cities are not separate either, they are simply nestled into nature someplace on the planet which is in turn is nestled someplace in our solar system; of which is nestled someplace in the galaxy and so on and so on. We merely exist a part of this grand ecology. Our Universe. I could only dream to be able to someday, view our home from outer space; to gain that amazing and humbling perspective of a natural world without boundaries or borders. Just, one… natural… space.
As I think about nature in this way, I am reminded of our true origins, specifically through abiogenesis. That gradual process of life arising from non-life through the evolution of simple to increasingly complex forms, more than 3.5 billion years ago. It is a reminder that we are connected even to non-living aspects of nature. It is astounding to think about. Even after a most complete annihilation and extinction, life will find its way back. It will bubble its way up from the most unexpected and barren of places. Life is perhaps the most incredible force.
We can see life’s unceasing will to thrive everywhere. If you live in the humid south, you may find it hard to keep life from growing in corners of your very home in the form of mold. You can see life find it’s way through the thinnest crack of a concrete foundation. And in some deserts, photosynthetic cyanobacteria will even grow on the underside of marble or granite rocks. These microbes can thrive on the minimal light that these semi-translucent rocks permit. We know there are countless examples of life thriving in the most “inhospitable” parts of nature. And as pollution increases the environment of our planet is indeed becoming an extreme one. But extremophiles will find a way to thrive no matter what environmental hurdles get thrown at them. Even, what ever humans may have to throw at them. Nature is everywhere and we are at her discretion, not the other way around.
Incredible data tells us now that Voyager II has entered interstellar space and I wonder about how far humans have come since that 1977 launch. During that time our sense of wonder beyond earth, the other planets and our galaxy was and remains strong with curiosity. We have gained a better understanding of how incredibly unique Earth is and yet, we have grown so distant from her even as we remain her inhabitants. This leads me to wonder… How has our view of Earth changed since that humbling launch? We wonder ceaselessly of worlds beyond our own and yet disregard the humble Earth with mistreatment. Until we can ultimately understand that we are not separate from nature, we will continue to face a challenging future.
If you would like to learn more about where humans can place their efforts to make the biggest difference in the health of the earth, I highly recommenced this book: HALF-EARTH: OUR PLANET’S FIGHT FOR LIFE by E.O. Wilson