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Nature as Best Friend

Lush Nepaliese Jungle with streams running in the center

Technology brings greater convenience, comfort, capacity, and access to both necessities and frivolous luxuries. Technology also tends to isolate and alienate us from the natural world. In our narrow pursuits of fame, fortune, pleasure, and power; we too easily miss the sun glancing off a colorful flower, the new spring shoots sprouting in the back yard or along the sidewalk, the shimmering leaves glowing in a light rain. Seduced by the constant lure of our cell phones, apps, social media messages, and journalistic sensationalism; we too easily miss the wonders of nature surrounding us.

When we overlook that organic perception of wonder and sacredness, we squander the awareness of our basic and innate respect and appreciation. It becomes too easy to sacrifice the long-term health of our planet for the short-term advantages to our materialistic consumerism.

Technology has given advertising experts nuclear level tools in their quest to manipulate us into buying so much that harms the environment while also wasting our financial resources on unnecessary and harmful products. The core ploy in this marketing strategy often focuses on convincing us that we have a problem, we can't be happy with what we have, we will only overcome our dissatisfaction and unhappiness by buying a product or paying for a service.

Smilling Woman in Plaid, washing herbs and veggies in a metal basin.

Connecting with nature in any of a thousand ways undermines this false belief system. We recognize our basic goodness by seeing it in the natural world. And when that happens, people naturally want to protect instead of pollute nature, save our precious water instead of wasting and contaminating it, safeguard our forests, rivers, farmlands, and neighborhoods instead of sacrificing them for short-term, unnecessary profits.

For most, gardening exemplifies one of the best and most easily accessible ways to nurture this culture-changing attitude. By planting something instead of numbing out with binge watching TV and movies, we can dissolve the false advertising narrative about who and what we really are. Even just taking care of one houseplant can animate this connection with our deeper selves. It can inspire an emotional connection and realization of how much plants and animals share our yearning to live and thrive.

soil slipping through fingers of the hands in a plantless background.

For the immense climate and social problems we face, we too easily blame corrupt politicians, industry science, and business leaders. This only leads to apathy and inaction. Instead, as we like to quote Paolo Lugari, “The only deserts are deserts of the imagination.” We need to make progress on the personal level first. That can overcome our environmental inertia and start some momentum going in the right direction. We can envision and nurture a progression from taking care of a houseplant to changing votes on environmental legislation. When people love a plant, they more easily vote for preserving the natural world.

Nature shows us reality and undermines political propaganda, nationalistic and selfserving delusions. The earthworms, bugs, birds, and breezes speak to us. As Kahlil Gibran writes, “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Complimentary Thoughts

 

    • I cannot look at any green shoot sprouting from the soil without feeling that in that mystic presence I am closer to the essence of reality than when my grandson tries in vain to explain to me the marvels of the atom. - Will Durant; Fallen Leaves

    • Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson; 1850–1894

    • It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses. - George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans); 1819–1880

    • What is success? To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - Ralph Waldo Emerson; 1803–1882

    • It is impossible to deny the good of life to any order of living things… Those that deny the happy life to plants are really denying it to all living things. - Plotinus, from Enneads; 204 - 249 CE

    • Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. - Anonymous Greek proverb

    • When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily. - Buddha गौतम बुद्ध; 563 - 483 BCE

    • There is one, and only one solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience. - Bill Mollison; 1928-2016

    • We are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth. These are the eyes of the earth and this is the voice of the earth. - Joseph Campbell; 1904-1987

    • Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking. - Maya Angelou 1928-2014

    • The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. - Michael Pollan 1955-Current
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