Nature vs. Humans
Nature vs. Human’s - What do you think about that thought?
When I think of this concept it creates two conflicting responses. If I am being honest, I want to simultaneously laugh and cry. Who are we as a species, to think of ourselves as separate from the rest of nature? Yet, this is a common belief system.
This ideology, or whatever you want to call it, has been the catalyst for some brutal environmental impacts since the world wars. Ranging from atomic bombs being dropped, to stripping and manipulating the land to mold to our vision, to blowing up mountains to make way for road systems… just to list a few that immediately come to mind. The 1900’s was a game changer for this planet and how we view ourselves on it.
Even as I type this out, I want to use pronouns such as “our” planet, and “we” as if we own it… It has been a weird week for me emotionally. I had not fully come to terms with how I was feeling until I sat down and decided to type this post. I told you that I am taking this class that discusses nutrition and health in the environment and while it is important to know this information, it also put a mini cloud over my thoughts. Now that I am aware of its presence I can take hold of it and let it go.
Here is what my thought chain has been for the past week. I preface that I am aware that I cannot change the past, I cannot change people, all I can do is educate and control my own impact and belief systems.
Throughout the evolution of mankind, ranging from the first hominid's; Sahelanthropus Tchadensis that evolved into australopithecines and now into our current genus Homo and species Sapien, an advantageous trait that has improved is our sense of intelligence.
Back in our early hominid days we were at the bottom of the food chain, we were the species preyed upon by larger, more intelligent and more resourceful species.
Currently our intelligent capacity has increased allowing us the ability to analyse both what is right in front of us and problem solve as well as have forward thought. We are able to think in a hypothetical capacity, you know the “what if” scenarios. This equipped us humans with the ability to plan for the future. This could range from storing meat throughout the cold months so that starvation is less likely to now being mindful of having a savings account for retirement.
Our species is brilliant BUT we are also so dumb. Paradoxical statement so let me explain.
Somewhere along the lines of our evolution we lost our connection to nature. We simply lost it. We, as man and womankind developed a superiority complex, putting ourselves on a pedestal above all living matter.
This resulted in a separation, leading us to think that humans are above nature, humans can control nature, humans can manipulate the environment.
Amazingly enough, this is all true. We truly can control nature but that does not mean that we should. We as a species completely forgot or neglected Newton’s third law of motion which is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Currently, I am in school learning about the importance of good nutrition. Contradictory, I then learn how all our food is contaminated... and that we are responsible for this outcome, human's manipulated the natural order of things so much so that we don't know what the repercussions fully are. Earth is trying to show us with all of the changes in climate across the world.
To demonstrate the impact we have had lets look at soil. I have spoken about the importance of soil in past blog posts. Soil is the foundation of all living things. Healthy soil makes healthy soil organisms which make healthy plants which are then eaten by other animals; including us.
May not seem like a big deal but again when you look at what we have done to a good portion of our soil you can begin to conceptualize the impact. To demonstrate what I mean let's look at the pesticides spread on crops. Annually, 5.6 billions pounds of pesticides are sprayed per year. What these pesticides do is they create a blanket effect that kills everything around it.
In order to have healthy plants you need all of the organisms to work with the plants. These microorganisms and larger organisms such as fungi, bacteria, arthropods, nematodes, protozoa, algae and earth worms each contribute significantly to the health of soil.
These critter's work with the plant providing a service ranging from providing growth hormones for the plant, making minerals available for the plant to absorb, to transport, to disease prevention, to allowing fresh water and oxygen into the soil for the plant to use.
Each species in the soil plays a role with the plant and all work together to keep it balanced. In return the glucose that the plant created through the process of photosynthesis is given to these various critters. This soil cycle is efficient and is quite beautiful when in homeostasis.
This soil cycle has not only been disrupted but its been altered by the introduction of pesticides. Pesticides create a blanket effect, killing everything within its reach. This has made it so that the plants are not getting proper nutrients, are not able to absorb everything because they have lost their companion that they have a symbiotic relationship with. The pesticides kill the soil organizes as well as the pollinators that help reproduce the plants. Ever head people say "save the bee's to save the world?" this is partially why.
The soil degrades and erodes and its runoff goes into the water and air. Not only is the pesticides impacting the land it is coming into direct contact with but it also is directly coming into contact with all the animals breathing and drinking the air and water….
Somewhere we lost this connection to see the entire picture clearly. We disregarded the entire ecosystem, focusing on strategies that may temporarily move us ahead as a species but these methods will not sustain us. We are now able to see through scientific means the impact this mind-set has had on the quality of the elements we need to survive.
More and more people are realizing this, realizing that a simpler time is desirable. Hiking trails are more crowded than ever as people try to reconnect with nature and disconnect from their lives. People are craving this connection, perhaps this is a contributing factor to the increase in mental illness?
That is a blog post for another time.
My point is that are paradigm, our philosophy, belief system, ideology, perspective, scheme, whatever you want to call it, needs to shift. We are not above nature, we need to work with nature, living in a sustainable way in order to keep the natural order of things.
The more I learn the more I feel inspired to improve my role. I intend on starting gardening, this will allow healthy soil to be made and healthy plants to grow. this will limit the contaminates in my food (as does buying organically and local), and help live in a more sustainable way. A way in which we are working with nature rather than against it. A way in which once again we are a a part of nature, a vital role in the functionality of these ecosystems. A way or method were rather than taking from the earth, we live symbiotically.