Listen to “The Spirit of Nature – Everything is Connected”.
Nature is essential to our lives – from the food on our plates to the clothes we wear, from medicines to mental health benefits.
2020 has given us the opportunity and responsibility to reflect on our relationship with the natural world, and how we benefit from it.
With the rapid and unprecedented transformation that humanity has undergone since the industrial revolution, our bond to nature has been rapidly eroding. Researchers estimate that the average North American child spends fewer than 30 minutes a day playing outside, but more than 7 hours in front of TVs, computers or smartphone screens.
Did you know that the average millennial picks up their phone 150 times per day? Snapchat alone receives 3 billion snaps every day from over 166 million active users. The global economy is overwhelming Earth’s ability to maintain modern life, and we are failing to act.
The current world system operates on the assumption that the Earth’s environment is subordinate to the social economy, and that the Earth belongs to humans and our needs. Placing the human economy above the well-being of the natural world creates a destructive and poisonous relationship.
The pursuit of humanity over nature is the prevailing trend of our time. However, the negative impacts are now becoming clear. These include:
- Climate change
- Loss of topsoil and freshwater
- Increasing rates of species extinction
- The destruction of the coral reefs
- Unstoppable invasive species
- Toxic chemical pollution that remains in the environment for years
- Persistent human poverty and hunger
These are only some of the disastrous impacts that human life has inflicted on the planet.
We seem to be the only species on Earth that actively destroys its own home and life-support systems. People may think of biodiversity or endangered species as something detached from their daily lives. However, what those people don’t understand is that Earth functions as a living planet, upon which many parts depend on each other. If we destroy nature, it’s going to come back to bite us.
There is an inseparable bond between man and nature. For man, there is no existence beyond nature. Making changes on a global level requires a shift in how we value, use and dispose of resources. We need to create a cyclical system, as in the natural world.
For children and adults alike, daily contact with nature is linked to better health, less stress, improved mood and reduced obesity. These are all things that money can’t buy. However, the pressures of modern daily life mean we are increasingly detached from nature even though it surrounds us.
That’s right, nature is all around us – and it’s free for us to enjoy.
Understanding transformation as rethinking the very foundations of how we currently live our lives and shape our societies goes beyond seeing sustainability as something that we add to our ‘to do’ list. We need a more in-depth understanding, and we must learn to experience life as interconnected. We must learn to be mindful. We need to create healthier spaces inside of ourselves and around us.
We can first do this by changing our consumer habits and returning to simple and natural food ingredients. Real change can only come through the individual transformation of every person. We must discover new values and rediscover the beauty of existence and the simplification of life. Meditation is a great and easy way to start this inner change, and with enough support, can transform the world.