Ending alienation from nature

Nasturtium

Eighteen months ago, living in an apartment without direct access to personal green space, I felt woefully disconnected from nature. It hit me hard because I grew up in the country, surrounded by flora and fauna, rich soil under my fingernails. My loss reflected the disaster of our times.

Melanoplus punctulatus?Since moving to this house a year ago, I have been privileged to reconnect with nature by planting a garden, hanging a bird feeder, and walking in the woods whenever I chose. Few people share this privilege. Humans can encounter nature wherever they live and work, but the most desolate places present obstacles. It is a common prejudice of rural people that city dwellers are alienated from the land and the food it produces. However, I have lived on both sides of the divide and felt the alienation in my own soul.

I set out to bridge that personal void. This blog arose as I pressed myself to concentrate on the birds, insects, soil, weeds and trees along the infertile city street where I lived at the time. I barely dreamt I would soon return to a fertile place. Who knows how long we can stay here or where our next home will be? For the time being I am grateful to soak up as much knowledge and experience as possible.

However alienated society may be from nature, we are bound to experience dire consequences before long. We already have, and yet quack scientists, corrupt politicians and messianic pedagogues continue to deny the threat. Nature lovers have a choice: they can hide in their gardens and build an ark of green walls against disaster, or else act as ambassadors in hope of a better future. Advocacy is the more constructive option, but requires hard work and the risk that comes from sticking one’s neck out.


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