Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Do Humans "Fight" Against Nature?

Crews fight off San Lorenzo River to save Boardwalk - Santa Cruz Sentinel


The attitude that we must "fight off" the "stubborn" river reveals a deeply dysfunctional view of the non-human world.

The philosophy that humans are engaged in a struggle against Nature is very old and increasingly tired. We are discovering more and more each day that the only way forward on this Earth is cooperative rather than combative, in harmony rather than seeking dominion, living as a part of the Earth, not apart from the Earth.

In our hubris, we continually build structures and facilities in areas such as floodplains, forests, volcanic slopes, ocean bluffs, and tornado and hurricane prone locations. Then we complain when natural events occur, as they always do, when Nature takes its accustomed course, rivers change their banks in natural meanders, volcanos erupt, earthquakes shake, tornadoes twist through the landscape and hurricanes come ashore.

Now we have created a new mythology, that humans are causing the conditions that result in damage to the human infrastructure, and that we can, through human action, stop natural weather and climate variation.

This is not an environmental attitude. It is the ultimate in human attempts to dominate the Earth and bend it to our service. We not only claim we have dominion over the living things of the Earth, but over all natural phenomena.

We increasingly encounter the attitude that human use of the Earth must come first, that our desires have precedence over the basic needs of all other living things, that we have the inherent right to displace the natural world for human use. Our dogs must be free to run anywhere at any time, no matter what other species are displaced from their diminishing natural habitat. We must be "free" to ride our vehicles wherever we want, no matter that critical habitat for endangered species is destroyed. Our amusement is far more important than the natural flow of rivers that support all life.

This is a self-destructive attitude, as we mortal human animals cannot live in a world devoid of non-human life. Our ability to survive as a species is intimately tied the health and biodiversity of the entire biosphere.

We are one with the Earth. Diminishing the health of the biosphere diminishes us as well

Let's work with the river, not against it, embrace the river, not hold it away with temporary levees, cement and heavy equipment.

Let's embrace Life.