Wednesday, April 19, 2017

9 Ways to Connect with Nature



Man's impact on nature is universally recognized as alarming, that strongly threaten, if not our very survival, at least the quality of our lives. It is the first time in the history of life on earth, that a single species can affect radically the fate of all the others, animals and plants, disrupting and destroying ecosystems. But, it should be noted that ours is a unique species, for better or for worse.

To perceive what lies in the human individual and understanding the quality of the induced damage is therefore a prerequisite for any realistic attempt to change of course. I consider it useful for addressing the human impact on nature, we should pay close attention to ethology and the natural science of behavior. Ethology in fact is the discipline that for the attention to the environment, research the adaptive significance or rather diversity of human behavior.

Cosmologists and geologists describe the Earth from the beginning that is more than four billion years old, with the appearance of small sea creatures in early sediments, the evolution of plants and animals from the sea, the evolution of insects, flowering plants and mammals from which, in geologically recent times, the primates and then mankind came. We share a common origin and genetic material with all other beings that are part of Earth's ecosystems.

The experiment of humanity, which is now ten thousand years old and that has adopted a way of life at the expense of nature with its culmination in the economic globalization is failing. The primary reason for this failure is that we have put the importance of our species above all else. We have wrongly considered Earth, its ecosystems and the myriad organic and inorganic life only as our resources, which we value only when they serve our needs and our desires.

But now let's see how this proves essential for understanding in a naturalistic perspective the peculiar history of our species. For exceptionally long period of time, virtually the entire history of humanity up to roughly ten thousand years ago, humans lived as hunter-gatherers across a geographic distribution, where they were in balance with the nature. Primitive man was able to secure resources without depleting or dramatically altering the habitat.

The real revolution began with the domestication of animals and plants. With the subsequent advent of herding and agriculture it not only had the first strong negative impact on biodiversity, for example when a cultivated field with a single plant species replaced a forest. Then appeared the first villages and then the first cities, and it should be noted that it was because of cultural control of sociability that man has been able to completely change his lifestyle, to withstand the large metropolitan crowds.

As regards our species, we can still have a testimony to the existence of residual populations, scattered in various regions of the earth, who live with this style of subsistence. I cite, as an example, the Veddahs of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the beaver hunters of Canada, the Bushmen of Kalahari, the Pygmies of the Congo Mbuti, the Waorani of Amazon.

The religious approach or superstitious humanity is guilty of having smeared the Eden, who are not much fearful of a nature that is ready to take revenge for suffered disfigurement. It might be helpful to begin to stop talking of nature, the planet and Mother Earth as if it were a deity or a sentient being. The planet Earth and nature knows to fend for themselves, that have existed from before it appeared the man, and in all likelihood will exist even after our extinction.

So the man, who would not survive all the disasters and cataclysms that nature has passed, should think about saving himself. And environmental protection should be only a consequence of this primary objective. The myths of different cultures and stories that shape our attitudes and values ​​want to tell us where we come from, who we are, and where we are going in the future.

Some of these stories are anthropocentric and/or otherworldly. Instead, the development of the natural history of mankind is not only believable but also more marvelous than a few myths centered only on the humans. At the base of the customs, behaviors and habits of the native peoples lies, therefore, in general the absolute importance of ensuring the natural order as possible. They perceived intimately that any alteration of the world was actually an alteration of themselves.

In more modern eras the Tao in China expresses very similar concepts. The Tao indicates what is right in the universe, including the relationships between men and animals, men and nature, etc. Similar philosophical views also belong to the Buddhist concept of Dharma and to that of the Vedic Rta. But these conceptualizations, however good, is already a product of civilization and thus remain, at least in part, conceptualizations.

The only way forward if we want to save the Earth and thus also ourselves, must therefore inevitably be towards a paradigm shift in our thinking, the first of which is regarded as worthy of valuing the lives of all sentient beings. In this action, perhaps we can do is to spread information and to question preconceived ideas that are commonly accepted uncritically. The changes brought about by a philosophical change are less obvious but much more effective.

From this different vision of life will then follow actions that tend to rebuild the natural environment rather than destroying it. Or, to be more precise, to let the natural environment simply rebuild itself. Some of the ways to go green through low-carbon lifestyle choices at home and while travelling include:

1. Jogging regularly on the open-air rather than using the treadmill.

2. During winter, using sweaters and jackets as much as possible rather than using room heaters.

3. Reading more books and newspapers rather than spending idle time on television or computer.

4. Drying clothes on open air rather than the washing machine dryer.

5. Trying to reuse waste water from the kitchen, for gardening and latrine uses.

6. Having a terrace garden with all kinds of vegetables for your daily needs and not using the packaged ones and instead going for the organic produce in the local markets.

7. Using the train or bus service as much as possible as also using bicycle wherever possible.

8. Using conventional heating sources rather than the oven. Putting the Air conditioner at room temperature to save energy.

9. Using CFL lamps in your house, shutting down the computer both during lunch break and after working hours as also unplugging appliances when you're out for longer periods.

A first step of awareness of drawing closer to nature is by returning to falling in love with Earth, not to feel so isolated and alone in this sometimes alienating society, to recover a sense of completeness and the desire to take care of a collective well-being that includes ourselves and beyond us.
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