Mending our Relationship with Nature

Photo by Florian van Duyn on Unsplash

I. Is Nature Out to Get Us?

The belief that we are at war with nature is an understandable one. Both religious and evolutionary thinking tells us either that we are somehow superior to nature or that we have conquered it through our unique capability for reflection and communication. Furthermore, it can appear as if nature is not only filled with violence, but is actively trying to attack us, whether through other animals, viruses, diseases, etc. It is perhaps due to the fear of these potential threats that we have become willing to accept this view of the natural world.

And violence certainly is a part of the natural world, as predation is a means of life for many species of animals. Nonetheless, there is an important distinction to be made between the general pattern of violence in nature, and that of humans.

All other animals except for humans, predators or herbivores, eat out of necessity. A lion can’t simply decide not to eat other animals, as its body has adapted to consumption of animal tissue, and zooming out this is true for all the beings that function within “food-chains” or what can also be called eco-systems. Within the eco-system, there is, generally speaking, an equilibrium that allows for numerous species to flourish without any collapsing imbalances occurring. Violence exists only to the extent that it’s necessary for survival.

The same can sadly not be said for humans.

Through our technological advancements we have mostly removed ourselves from practices of hunting animals for food, and have now industrialised the process. Factory-farming has become the normal way of “production” of animals, and at least 70 billion land-animals are killed each year from this industry. To reach these numbers, we have utilised any possible mechanism of “efficiency”. We are genetically modifying both the animals and their feed, injecting them with huge amounts of antibiotics, and cramping them into horrifically confined spaces. We have created what Isaac Bashevis Singer already decades ago deemed a holocaust. These words come from a man who lost his own family to the holocaust of Nazi-Germany.

We hold ignorance to this fact, as the reality is absolutely unbearable, while allowing the economically poorest among us to do the dirty work of slaughtering and preparing the animals for us. Several documentaries, such as the recent “Dominion” explore the horrific truth of these farms, and are worth watching.

This relationship with animals can’t be excused by the existence of violence in nature, as the natural eco-systems and factory farms are categorically different. And while this topic is usually subject to a vegetarian-carnivore polarisation, it is safe to say that we can all agree that the other animals deserve better, and that they should at least be given conditions similar to their natural habitat.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

II. Viruses and Bacteria

A related subject is that of viruses and bacteria, and similarly to the topic of animals, our understanding is generally severely limited. The virome and microbiome have existed longer than we have, and throughout time we have evolved alongside them. We are told that they are inherently dangerous and out to get us, but here we make a mistake. We mistake the symptom for the cause.

Neither Viruses or bacteria are threatening to us, and are actually foundational to our existence. Without them we would not be alive today. The collective amounts of viruses and bacteria, in our bodies, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we eat from, are numerous beyond count. In every breath you currently take, billions upon billions of viruses enter your body, updating your immune-system to maintain its strength and ability to keep you healthy. The innate immune system in our body can and will, in a state of health, find alignment with every single virus or bacteria that we come in contact with, keeping us safe by either learning from them or keeping them out.

This seems to irreconcilable with all that we have been told about people dying from viruses or infections, yet it is exactly this incongruence that shows us the truth. For when a person who has cancer, and thus a compromised immunity, we know that the common flu can seemingly be cause of death. So why do we not fear the common flu in general? Because we in this case see that the virus itself is benign, and that it is the lacking health of the person that is really the cause of death.

While the industrialisation has brought many benefits, it has also allowed for us to decimate our own health. Through chemical agriculture, eating refined foods, medicating ourselves, and other factors, we have severely reduced our ability to stay healthy. Most chronic diseases are, despite our advancement of medical science and enormous medical industry, on the rise. Nonetheless, we remain ignorant to this, simply blaming our diseases on genetics or bad luck, when neither are the case.

And it is because of our lacking recognition of our declining health, that we have so readily accepted the narratives of viruses and bacteria being dangerous. The fact that we are seeing problems occur related to the viruses and bacteria is merely a symptom of an underlying lack of health. Thus, when we try to go to war with a virus, as we have especially for the last 1,5 years now, we are essentially shooting the messenger carrying a message we direly need to hear.

The viruses are not the real danger, and if we have adverse reactions to them, we need to see that as an indicator that our body is not in a state of health. It is a truth that places both the power and the responsibility of our own health in our hands.

It is a more holistic perspective in which we acknowledge that our bodies naturally and automatically strive towards health, and furthermore, that this health is created in symbiosis with nature. This means that any ailment we are experiencing, will have its roots not in nature trying to attack us, but instead in some part of our life that is bringing us out of a state of health.

We so often fail to recognise this truth, as fear has us think only in the short term. We keep pushing each other to take increasing numbers of vaccines and precautionary measures like wearing masks, without even considering the long term implications of these choices. Are we going to try to vaccinate ourselves from every possible virus and its mutations? Are we going to make masks a normal and required element of life? That would be nothing but a concession of defeat. A passive acceptance of our lives being ruled by a fear based on lacking understanding of our own innate immune system.

While the EU has held back somewhat, the US vaccine schedule now includes 54 shots, and is continuing to grow. Instead of addressing the root causes, we are simply managing symptoms by increasingly harmful and authoritarian means. Similarly to our industries being driven by short term profits while ignoring their impact on the environment, we are adding short term measures without addressing the true cause of our disease.

Photo by Jesse Dodds on Unsplash

III. The Root Causes

So what root causes are we being called to ameliorate? We hear a lot about climate-change and the problem of Co2-emissions, and while this certainly appears to be a problem, it is only a small part of the actual problems that exist.

We have made a fundamental error in our approach to developing our economies, where the main focus has been to centralise wealth and to focus on short-term profitability. This has caused us to industrialise while wearing blinders to the effects which result from the production.

The agricultural industry has been the most decimated by this mentality, in ways which don’t always appear clear.

A combination of industrial development and 2 world wars, left us with large industries of coal, oil, petroleum, which we found out could be used as fertiliser. This worked to the extent that the plants would grow, but left the plants weak due to a lack of nutrients which chemical farming simply can’t supply. Due to this weakness, the plants became susceptible to viruses, pests, weeds, which otherwise would not have been a problem, and thus we needed to find a way to deal with these symptoms.

The symptom-treatment also came from the result of war-efforts, this time from Monsanto in the US and Bayer in Germany, who had both been producers of chemical weapons. Their chemical products now became the solution to symptoms caused by chemical fertiliser, which was so harmful to the plants, that genetical modification needed introduction. Thus, we have created a food system consisting of plants which not only lack vital nutrients for themselves and thereby us, but also carry the poison of the chemicals of the spraying.

Most notable are substances such as Glyphosate, the main ingredient of RoundUp, which has been proven to cause Non-Hodkins Lymphoma (cancer), and has been the cause of billion dollar settlements due to class-action litigation, much of which is still ongoing.

This extends into the “production” of animals, who similarly are both being genetically modified, fed the chemically farmed crops, injected with massive amounts of antibiotics, and subjected to a life of torture.

This is what we eat. This is where we get the nutrients we depend on. This is an obvious and catastrophically imminent cause of our lacking health.

Animal “production” is especially dangerous, as the large amount of waste coming from these facilities accumulate and linger, while the large amounts of antibiotics which the animals were injected with, can now foster the creation of bacteria that is highly antibiotic-resistant. We are essentially creating the very thing we fear, that being viruses and bacteria that are truly dangerous to us.

Both the waste and the chemicals in general also absorb into the eco-system, and spread throughout it, which means that whether we try to eat organic or not, these chemicals will be in the water we drink and the air we breathe.

This is also the case for other industries, a notable case being that of Dupont, who knowingly used PFOS/PFOA in their production of teflon and other household items/clothing. These substances are estimated to be in the body of almost all living creatures, and were proven to be carcinogenic.

Even when it comes to Co2-emissions, we often get caught up with the big-picture issues of global warming, and forget the immediate impacts on our respiratory health from the enormous amount of air-pollution that comes from both transportation and production. An interesting note is that the Wuhan-Province and Northern Italy have a commonality; they are the areas on the planet with the highest levels of air-pollutions and usage of agricultural chemicals.

The point is, that we are living in increasingly toxic environments while consuming foods lacking vital nutrients and which contain carcinogenic chemicals. The causality of our declining health is right in front of us. Not an attack from nature, but a result of our own misalignment with the biology of the planet. We are literally destroying ourselves.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

IV. Amelioration Through Regeneration

As much as it can seem overwhelming to acknowledge the reality of our situation, it also gives us the opportunity for taking responsibility. And that is a good thing.

For while we may fear that we need to return to some pre-industrial way of life, there is an entirely different solution available. A solution that entails firstly recognising the problems of our current structures, and focus our creativity into creating structures which align with nature. This means that we continue using our capability for creating, yet take an approach based on fundamental natural principles of regeneration, cycles, and adopting a holistic view of the planet that embraces the fact that we live within an eco-system, and that we all affect each other through our choices.

This means that many structures will have to be largely or entirely reinvented. Our production of food, energy, transportation, commodities, need fundamental changes so that they can function without creating the type and magnitude of waste, while also being able to provide what we really need.

And it is here that a critical realisation needs to be made, which is that is really is up to us all. We all individually have the axis of power that is our lives. That means that it is in our own lives where we need to start. If we rely only on politicians and corporations to make the changes for us, we will probably just continue on the disastrous direction that we’re currently heading in. This is not to say that we dismiss the realm of politics, but instead that we engage with it directly as one avenue of improvement.

Despite the collective apathy that permeates our ideas of how society changes, it is false that it has to happen “top down”. For in the end, politicians and corporations only have the power which we collective assign to them, which means that we are better of using our collective power to directly create the change we need.

While it might appear futile to change them, it matters greatly what we do with our money, time, energy. We can get in touch with local farmers and buy from them, instead of from corporations. We can choose to purchase clothing, commodities, furniture which is locally made and created under proper conditions. We can begin growing our own food, fermenting our food, eating more plant-based. Every aspect of our life is essentially a vote for what we want to see more of. Simple economic theory dictates that change has to happen when we do this, and even if the change is small at first, it almost inevitably leads to growth of what we support. We may be among the first to support our local farmers, but as they begin to perceive an interest from the consumer along with increased income, they will expand, leading to more people becoming aware of their existence. In that sense, our choices have ripple-effects, which in themselves are capable of inspiring others to make similar choices.

This way, we essentially create new economic systems. Self-expanding supply-chains based that are truly great, both for us and nature. The benefit of this approach is that we are directly creating the change we need, without needing to force anyone to our will through the state, or by attacking the large corporations. Instead, by reclaiming our collective power, we simply make these make them obsolete. They truly only have the power which we give them, and nothing more. So while there may be some legal battles which will take place, holding these companies responsible for their actions, and new legislation which prevents their conduct, the real change happens when we all, individually and collectively, make changes in our own lives.

We have the necessary information. We have the necessary power. It is perhaps our own apathy and cynicism that is the true frontier to be faced, as we have for most of our lives been taught to think about the world in a highly limited manner. We have accepted a belief of being entirely powerless or that our efforts will be futile, yet this is simply and blatantly untrue.

There has been a deepening recognition among elites in the West that as you begin to lose the power to control people by force, you have to start to control what they think” -Noam Chomsky

Photo by Federico Di Dio photography on Unsplash

We all have direct responsibility for our impact on the planet, and despite what we have been told, we do hold the power. Governments are largely captured by large corporations, so don’t wait for them to lead the change. Change is simple. Do something else than what you are doing now. There are no valid excuses for not doing so, and our choices do matter.

Reclaiming the responsibility may feel like a burden or pressure, yet with it comes the power to create change. Nature needs us to do so. Our children need us to do so. We need to do so.

“The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and it sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch.” -Carl Jung.

Thank you for reading.

If you watch just one video regarding chemical agriculture, make it this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw16LPVnNco&t=1148s

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