Beneath the skies, there is but one family. And that includes animals and nature, and wildlife.
If you ask any human being if they think they/we are separate from nature, most of them will say yes. This is natural, because we have grew up in a society, where we are regarded as separate. It’s easy to see why:
Humans have created the modern day we live in with their superior intelligence:
- We can walk on two legs.
- We can talk hundreds of different languages.
- We can communicate with each other, without being able to speak the same language.
- We have incredible memories.
- We have the ability to think about the future, and the past.
- We have rise to the top of the food chain (that which animals used to rule)
Because we have risen to the top of the food chain, which in itself is incredible. We naturally see ourselves as superior, therefore separate. But the fact remains that we in fact evolved from apes – apes are animals. So whatever you say, we are animals.
We are part of the animal kingdom.
And the continued ignorance and misunderstanding of our relationship with nature is causing both sides to suffer.
Think about the fact that it is us, humans, who have driven some of the world’s most incredible species to extinction (Mammoths, Giant Deers etc). And we continue to do so (White tigers, Wild tigers, Polar Bears, Cheetahs). Now, you may argue that is nature! . Back in the days as ‘cavemen’ we needed food, so we killed. Today we need leather and fur, so we kill. But do we actually need to do these things in the modern day? The answer is no.
Fair enough, we needed to kill whatever we saw when we were hunters, but today food is not the reason these animals are dying off, food is available in abundance, the reason is our greed and pure lack of understanding.
In his fantastic book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari points out the argument im making: We are part of nature whether we believe it or not. I recommend you purchase this book and read it all, or just skip to the final few chapters, you will learn so much.
One other very important point i would like to make here is that of our children today. Kids today are growing up in a technologically insane world. Which is good for us as humans, and our advancement as a species, but there is a growing disconnect with the outside world. Kids barely leave the house these days because they don’t need to – they are never bored. And boredom is essential to learning and development. It encourages kids to get creative. As recent as 10 years ago, the number of kids playing outdoors was a lot higher, because they simply had nothing else to do. So what is the solution?
It is the role of the parent/teacher to make kids aware of the outside. To encourage them to explore nature and the outdoors. To not exclude, but monitor their children’s usage of tech like iPads, smartphones. These things are amazing and i am totally against parents who do not allow their children to use such things. We are in a world today where such items are essential. But nature is as essential. Because if we’re not careful, one day it wont be there at all.
What you can do about it
It starts with something as little as a walk through the woods. A visit to the local zoo or nature centre. A stroll around the local duck pond. Just a little connection like this, will allow you to appreciate what wonders surround you. Then as you are doing this, remember that we are in fact part of them, and they are part of us. We are not separate, but in fact family (we just look a little different!)
The increased awareness that comes from a little appreciation will have a huge impact on your outlook. Another powerful exercise you can do is to just imagine for a moment, that nature were to just disappear, be taken away from us. Marine life, birds, bees, and the whole animal kingdom – bar us. Imagine that? …
Now snap back and realise that what we have is beautiful.
Tell your friends. Share it with the world. Encourage your kids. Teach others. Read about nature. Look for opportunities to help out. Volunteer. Set up a business that helps people get connected with nature.
Remember, there is only one family. We are nature. Nature is us…
For a fantastic short article on this topic check out this post in the guardian by Richard Louv.
Also, a great read about how Nature makes Britain tick is this Book by Tony Juniper – Pick it up for £5!