Why Value Nature?
One question we may ask is why should we value nature at all? What purpose does it have or what role does it play in our daily life? In the modern mindset, we often perceive ourselves outside of nature–we think of “humans” and “nature” being separate things. However, nothing could be further than the truth. Human beings are a fruit of nature’s tree–we are intimately tied to her and a product of her forces. She provides our clean air, our clean water, healthy soil to grow food–she provides mental comforts in beautiful sunsets and forests and wilderness vistas.
However we utilize our planet, our ties to our own well-being are inescapable. That is, if we destroy the ability for clean air in order to make profit, than we so too reap the consequences of dirty air, such as various health and breathing problems and respiratory illnesses.
If we mismanage our water, we lose the ability for sustained agriculture and sustained human settlements. We could suffer consequences such as damaged brain development (if the water is heavily chemically polluted) or be infected by disease (if the water is being damaged by human waste).
Inescapable are our ties to nature. If we do not utilize our planet correctly, and see our intimate relationship to nature and indeed our self-construction by nature, than we may suffer great consequence.
However, if we learn to embrace nature–if we learn to understand her principles and fuse our economies with her–we could possibly become mastheads of our own planet. We could become “ecological engineers”, creating whole new ecosystems, repairing damaged ecosystems, and recovering species. We could learn to monitor, construct, conserve and maintain our biosphere and hydrosphere’s (earth’s water system) integrity.
Why is it not possible, if we are to embrace that we are indeed made by nature, and fused to her, for us to create ecospheres of our own choosing? Is it possible for us to re-green the deserts? Can we reverse our deforestation and reverse our over-harvesting? Can we learn to instead of damaging populations, learn to grow them? Is it not possible to build habitat into our cities, into our dwellings and to encourage a value set that is fused with the natural world? Why is this not possible?
If we are truly to make it through the centuries ahead, we ought to look at our habits and what we are passing down to future generations. If we are only focused on the present growth of our economies, or the selfish pursuit of amassed materials, then we are not considering the future. We cannot “rob from our great grand-children” as Chief Seattle might have said. We have to think long-term. We have to think about the collective well-being.
Beyond International Boundaries / Beyond Cultural Thinking
For us to make progress, we must also think beyond our nation-states and our cultural points of view. Globally, we are connected. What we do to the earth in one place, will, in one way or another, affect all of us. We have to be aware of this connection and these ties. Else, we will counter any positive efforts, by a fragmentation in global behaviour.
If one nation cleans up its act, and others do not do so as well, we will only slowly irk towards solutions, when what we truly need is action and preventative policies now. We need global unification in valuing our global ecology. This cannot take us fifty or one hundred years–this must happen now. Earth’s integrity is an international asset that we all share–clean water, clean air, healthy food, clean soil, diverse species,–all of these things are necessary to develop truly healthy bodies and minds. Without these things, what does it matter how much we have grossed in our various nation’s GDP’s? What does it matter how much we’ve grown our stocks or businesses, if they are embedded in a fruitless or dirty planet, or with unhappy and unhealthy human populations?
We must value our planet, we must value nature, as we are nature, and all of our human economies depend upon nature. We must reach beyond national boundaries and must expand our ways of thinking, to preserve the integrity of a diversified and functioning planet–to maintain a beautiful planet this is needed now–and all people of all classes and nations and genders and ideologies can appreciate these things (clean air, clean water, clean soil, visually gratifying vistas, diverse animal life). We must not allow our desire to make money kick out the support beams regarding our own well being. We can learn to manage our economies in line with balancing earth’s ecology. We can learn to become creators of life–stewards of life–managing and monitoring our ecological capital for a greater quality of life for all things.