“We are Nature Defending Itself”Quote from a sign on Rebellion Day 17.11.18
When I saw the above quote on Rebellion Day in London the other week, I felt as if someone had finally made sense of something immense; something that I’d been feeling, and trying to put my finger on, for a long time now. It perfectly, and beautifully, sums up exactly why those of us involved in sustainability and climate harmony are doing what we’re doing, and the message of unity that we need to spread.
There’s a long history of people fighting for the environment; and there’s a whole section of society who are happy to refer to those people as “hippies” or “tree-huggers”, or some other name that sets them apart from the wider society. This is nonsense; as we can now highlight beautifully through the above quotation: “We are Nature Defending Itself“. Just think about it;
Nature Is Defending Itself. We Are Nature. Nature Defends Itself. We Are Nature, And We Are Defending Nature. We Are Nature Defending Itself.
We are not people looking out for the environment that just happens to be around us. That environment is not somehow separate from us and our society. That environment that we talk about saving; protecting; conserving, is each and every one of us. It is not some luxury that the human race enjoys. There is no separation between homo-sapiens and the natural world except the separation that we build in our minds: which is, as we have already mentioned, nonsense.
That sign, to me, with it’s simple wording of such a powerful understanding, highlighted the importance of breaking down this mental barrier that we as a society have built up between ourselves and the natural world. Before we can ‘look after the planet’; before we can ‘save the environment’; before we can ‘protect the natural world’, we must accept that we are as much a part and a product of that natural world as the squirrels in the trees, the birds in the skies, and the deer in the woods. There is no break in the connection, there is no it and us; there is only nature.
We have built up towns and cities and constructs of brick and machinery and technology that keep us contained in our own little worlds where we can control what we see and what we do. We breed young people that don’t know what a cow is; that are afraid to get mud on their boots; that won’t go out in the rain; and whose ‘environment’ consists of walls and pavements and roads and screens. It’s no wonder a huge section of our society feels they are estranged from the natural world around them, they are. In a world where the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the home you live in, and the things you do are all sourced through shops and organisations and towns is it any wonder that we feel so disconnected. Nevermind that all these things originally come from natural resources: we don’t see that, we just see the price tags on the packaging in the shops, and who can blame us for not putting two and two together when it’s skated over through society and barely taught in the schools?
If we are to have any hope of uniting the people of our society against climate breakdown we must first tackle and break down the mental separation that we have built between ourselves and the natural world. We must take a step back. We must remember that we are the natural world, and we must teach each other and our young, to remember this. And to know that while our jobs and our industry and the money we earn and the lives we live in our ‘human society’ are relevant and real, they, and we, would not flourish nor indeed exist separate from the natural world, from ourselves. We have built our own strange environment of rules and work and finance and social constructs inside our original home of land and sky and earth, and in doing so many of us have lost sight of where we came from and what we belong to.
Even the notion that we are a plague upon the Earth comes from this idea that we are somehow unconnected to the planet, that we’re not meant to be here, that we’re bad or unnatural. We have as much right to be here as any other natural thing on this Earth, but unlike all other life here we have been gifted with sentience and the opportunity to make and build and create above and beyond our own physical bounds. It is time we began to think of that as a gift, and as something that we can use in partnership with nature, with ourselves, with our home.
Our sentience gives us a choice; to turn our backs on where we came from and choose to ignore our own suffering as we continue to wreck and ruin our home; or to reopen our eyes, remember our roots, and choose to work and live and grow as nature. We are nature.
The power of this message of unity is incredible. The necessity of our realisation as a society that we are not separate from nature, from ‘the environment’, is crucial in our development and ability to combat climate breakdown. This is the knowledge that we need to impart to our peers, to our families, to our young people. This is the power that we hold as a society, as a species. We talk about coming together and fighting for our own; the natural world and everything in it is us, as we are it. If we are fighting for our own how can we not fight for nature?