On Nature

I came across an article the other day entitled Humanity ‘Sleepwalking Towards the Edge of a Cliff': 60% of Earth’s Wildlife Wiped Out Since 1970, and while I applaud the thrust of the article (we’re collectively doing a great deal of damage, and may ultimately wipe ourselves out), the framing, like so many other pieces of this type, is all wrong. Consider this quote:

“human activities are destroying nature at an unacceptable rate, threatening the wellbeing of current and future generations”

The statement about our future notwithstanding, this reduces “nature” to an external thing that we have some sort of power over, when in fact the exact opposite is true.

Nature is not separate from humanity, it’s not an amenity or a tourist attraction, it’s not something we just experience on the weekends, a place we choose to go camping, or to dump our garbage in when nobody is looking.

Nature is a vast cyclical process of life and death, of which humanity is just one relatively insignificant yet insufferably arrogant piece. We each participate in it, all day, every day.

Nature is the song that surrounds us now, and one that will carry on well after we are gone.

We need to listen to that song, and learn to sing along with it.