My 7-year old son says to me: when I grow up, I want to move into the jungle and build a house with my hands. Can I come with you? I ask. No, but you can visit me, he says.
There is no fear of nature. Nature is a place where he feels safe, protected, at peace.
He runs through the jungle with bare feet. He is always dirty from playing outside. He wears as little clothes as possible, so that he can always feel the air caressing his skin. He touches all insects and plants he meets on his way. Nature is his sanctuary.
Unlike him though, it seems that most modern people are afraid of nature. Animals that are dangerous to human beings should be removed: In my motherland Denmark for example wolves (that have been extinct for a long time) have started to reappear in the north-western part of the country, and people feel immensely threatened, despite the fact that stories of dog-walkers who have had wolf-encounters and have experienced the animals as peaceful and curious have started to emerge.
Insects that enter our habitat or bother agricultural growth should be extinguished (despite the fact that this procedure messes with food chains and balanced ecosystems and with the natural pollination that takes place with a diverse variety of insects interacting with plants).
Plants that aren’t immediately useful to us should be destroyed in order to make space for edible plants, plants that can be used for fuel and plants for feeding the animals we farm (with devastating environmental consequences).
But nature isn’t made for human beings. We are a part of nature, not in control of it. And, even plants that don’t appear useful or decorative to us are vital parts of a massive, complex ecosystem in which each fragment plays an important role, and in which removing even one small slice can have devastating consequences. The same goes for animals; when farming certain species (because they are useful to us) and destroying the habitat for others and hence extinguishing them, we mess with a sacred balance that should never be messed with.
Removing even a small part and deliberately growing another part of nature’s ingenious well-balanced ecosystem creates an unbalance that spreads like wildfire. An example hereof is the insane number of wild dogs here in Bali; there are hardly any animals here anymore higher up in the food chain and hence the population grows uncontrollably, with devastating consequences such as the spread of rabies.
Our culture tells us that nature is made for us to use and to do whatever we want with: to farm, trim, grow, or destroy. But everything is connected and always in flux, and hence when we disturb the balance of the ecosystem by removing certain plants in order to promote the growth of others, or by decreasing the habitat of animal species that don’t appear immediately useful to us or that we feel threatened by, the consequences produce a disastrous ripple effect.
My son understand and respects this balance and connection intuitively. It hasn’t yet been cultivated out of him.
Let’s connect! https://www.instagram.com/the_immaterialist/
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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