People cannot live apart from nature…And yet, people cannot live in nature without changing it. What we call nature is, in a sense, the sum of the changes made by all the various creatures and natural forces in their intricate actions and influences upon each other and upon their places. The making of these differences is the making of the world…
And so it can hardly be expected that humans would not change nature. Humans, like all other creatures, must make a difference; otherwise, they cannot live. But unlike other creatures, humans must make a choice as to the kind and scale of the difference they make. If they choose to make too small a difference, they diminish their humanity. If they choose to make too great a difference, they diminish nature, and narrow their subsequent choices; ultimately, they diminish or destroy themselves. Nature, then, is not only our source but also our limit and measure.
— Wendell Berry
How much should we humans “interfere” in Nature?
As Wendell Berry so beautifully pointed out, no species, including man, can live without changing its surrounding environment. It just is impossible. So the real question is not DO we change Nature or not, but HOW do we change Nature?
I have been having this idea come up over and over and yesterday it came up three times in different ways, so I thought I had better write about it.
The first time this came up recently was a couple of months ago.
Larry and I were standing in a parking lot that had a range of hills on one side and a lot of sky above. He had his back to the hills and I was facing the hills talking with him. And then I looked up and suddenly I was no longer aware of the parking lot, I was aware of being in Nature. And I began to see the sky and the birds and the trees and feel the warmth of the sun on my body and the gentle breeze. One minute I was standing in an industrial parking lot and the next I was standing in Nature.
It was just a shift of awareness, but that shift gave me a whole different viewpoint. I could see the backdrop of Nature that is there all the time, but we often aren’t aware even exists.
Last night it was very windy here. Larry and I were lying in bed commenting on how windy it was. We checked a local news show to get the weather report, but they really didn’t give any information about our particular place.
So we turned to the Beauford Wind Scale, which allows you to estimate wind speed by observing the effects of the wind on trees.
In the current issue of Yes! magazine, there is a article called Living Ecologically is Illegal.
This article quite clearly shows that some of the things we might want to do to protect Nature from civilized man are actually illegal.
There is a magazine called Yes! that has been around for many years. It began in 1996, exploring positive things we can do in our daily lives that help social and environmental issues. They have articles by many writers with various viewpoints. I don’t always agree with everyone about the solutions, but I keep an eye on them as part of keeping informed about what is going on in the world related to what we do.
The Spring 2021 issue is What an Ecological Civilization Looks Like.
They say, “The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is community-oriented and life-affirming.”
Hmmm. That sound like just what we are doing with Lifely.
A couple of weeks ago Larry found a film on amazon prime called Intelligent Trees. [This link goes to amazon prime, but I see it is also available elsewhere].
It contains the findings of German forester Peter Wohlleben and Canadian scientist Suzanne Simard , who have been observing and investigating communication between trees for decades. Yes, communication between trees.
They have scientifically observed that trees do not stand alone, but have “friendships” and form “families” in their natural forest habitat. “Mother” trees help “child” trees grow.
And trees of different species help each other as well.