Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Nature Is Speaking: How will we respond?

Yesterday, the world heard Nature’s voice; and for the first time in a long time, we have sat up and listened. We have shared with each other a potent message on behalf of Mother Nature, as well as some firm reminders of the reliance we have on the biomes (major habitats such as Forests or Rivers) that encompass her; a knowing once so deeply instilled within us, now fading as our connection to Nature is torn apart. Nature’s message has been eloquently presented to us by Conservation International's Nature Is Speaking campaign; an organisation who have been hearing the troubled, haggard whispers of Nature’s struggling biomes long enough to give them bold new voices; offered by an impressive Hollywood A-List. Rightly transformed from what many consider to be gentile, gullible, dull and forgiving landscapes, into very real forces; living entities tired of the needy, weak, egotistical race that is humanity. Living forces that have finally said, “Enough is enough”, fatigued with our ever increasing greed, our short sighted, short minded consumption. Apathetic to our excuses, to our boasting promises of ‘green compensation’; a blackmail forcing Nature, and ourselves, into extinction.

A sense of foreboding lingers in each message; however Mother Nature and her biomes are not portrayed as callous, but are instead shown to offer us one last chance to reconnect with that deep, innate sense of reverence towards the sheer power of Nature, and of our complete reliance upon it. One last chance to make this relationship between humankind and Nature work. One last chance to prove to Nature that we are worthy of sharing this planet with her; humble enough to live alongside her; adept to use her resources sustainably, and bold enough to contend with our own kin for her protection. At the end of Mother Nature’s speech, we are asked if we are prepared to evolve.

Are we?               Can we?

Can we, as a species; as the ‘dominant’ species on this planet, reconnect with the consciousness of our natural selves in time to prevent our own extinction, through our impending genocide of the natural world?

How simple is it to make that first step; the connection to our innate ‘natural selves’? Is it as simple as recognising the phenology of Nature, the reincarnation of seasonal phenomena, as discussed in my previous post? Is it as simple as feeling enlivened and unnerved during a thunder storm? As much as we may feel in awe over natural phenomena such as these, how often is it that lucid accounts of our emotional responses to such encounters are shared? How often does a village, town or city community have the opportunity to undertake a shared experience in Nature, and to discover their shared emotional responses to such a communal experience?

Is this what our society is lacking; shared experiences in Nature on a community level? Is this why Nature is often awarded such little interest and respect?

We are a highly social species; we relish in finding new ways to connect with others. However the very word itself; ‘Connect’, has evolved. We cherish technological aids that enable us to ‘connect’ with people on the other side of the planet, who we will never meet. Our hands clasp phones, devices which have adapted the way we communicate with friends and family; enabling us the ‘freedom’ to never have to meet them in the eye.

If we are losing our true connection, our natural connection, to each other in exchange for technology, what chance does Nature have? What chance does this ‘backdrop’ have when images on a 2D screen are considered to be more enthralling than a woodland or a sunset?  

Clear night skies provide ideal opportunities for whole communities to share an experience with Nature. 

Those of us who already have a lifelong interest in Nature can sometimes fail to understand why others do not share our enthusiasm. However it’s easy to forget that when we are encapsulated in Nature by ourselves, we never feel alone; whereas those less associated with Nature can. As a social species, the thought of being alone, with no technology to entertain us, may be daunting and a little off-putting to some.

So what is the answer? How can we enliven the consciousness of the innate inner ‘wild’ that is lying dormant within so many of us? How we can reignite our connection to Nature?

Perhaps the answer is offering communities; social structures which are already formed, opportunities to have shared experiences in Nature. Experiences where the real forces and wonders of Nature, as have been so well portrayed by Conservation International’s videos, are shared and discussed within a community group; enabling shared emotional memories to be created and developed. Memories which can be reflected upon whenever a member of that group has the instinctive urge to escape outside into their urban wilds alone. Memories which will bring a sense of community back into natural spaces.  

I will be exploring opportunities to develop natural spaces, and shared emotional experiences in Nature, within communities in my local area. The Den of Wild Intrigue will of course become home to any progress, downfalls, and smiling muddy faces that arise from these projects.  

If you have undertaken projects with a similar focus, and have monitored the results, I’d love to hear from you.

- Heather-Louise