Reconnecting with Nature

As modern civilization has developed over the past several hundred years, there has been an increasing disconnection with nature.  The unspoken goal was to overcome the forces of nature that made life uncomfortable or short lived.

In modern societies, man thwarted the deadly efforts of malaria, mumps, measles, rubella, and pneumonia (among others) through science and medicine.  We created a factory farming system, fertilizers, and processed foods to cheaply feed the growing population.  Our homes and offices use air conditioning or recylced air, water is pumped in from mysterious sources, sewage and garbage are taken out to a different mysterious location.  Though all of these actions – eating, healing, breathing, excreting – are a deep part of the human experience, we have become disconnected from the natural cycle of which these are a part.

For all of the strides we have made in creating modern civilization, there is a growing sense that we may have left something important behind in our quest to subvert nature.  What we’ve lost and what many people are waking up to is the simple awareness that we are deeply connected to the natural world that holds us.  Humans need interaction with nature and our welfare is directly connected to environmental welfare (see Jared Diamond’s books).

On the pushing edge of culture (the idea pushers) you see an increasing interest in reconnecting with nature.  For those living in an urban zone, the interest in reconnecting with nature can be seen in the growth of farmer’s markets and the local food movement (getting to know your farmer).  It can be seen in the growth of exercise and outdoor sports over the past several decades; People spending too much time inside opt to grab a slice of outdoor adventure everyday with a bike ride or run.  Growing numbers of people are concerned about the pollution and refuse they release into the world.  As a response people recycle, compost, and purchase carbon credits.

The ultimate solution to this nest of problems is finding a way to live completely sustainably on earth.  Exactly how this happens, no one knows yet.  But as you know, I believe big problems are best solved from the ground up.  The most fundamental solution is held within you – it is to recognize and feel how the connection with nature is a deep part of your human nature.

You can manifest this realization by taking a walk each day to get fresh air, not driving to work to reduce your fuel consumption, planting a garden or even just a potted flower to feel the earth on your hands, buying local produce directly from a farmer, swimming in a river instead of a pool.

There are countless ways to reconnect with nature and to feel how important this is to your human nature.  Do one small action every day to honor this part of your humanity, then share your ideas with the world (by posting them here or on your own blog).

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