Humans Are Nature

by Shaun Logan
 The concept of humans and nature has been coming up (to me, in my life) a lot recently. At first I didn’t quite understand  how to articulate what other people were getting at. We  understood it on a level that I couldn’t quite explain and singular explanations weren’t clicking, and then it did. 

We have to  stop constantly  separating humans from nature or from the Earth and Universe. I get that. I understand that we, humans, are part of nature, part of Earth, part of the Universe, part of the Energy of the existence of all life itself. But, what I was missing was how there really isn’t a connection and disconnection.

The connection between human and the Earth is always there, ever-present. Any disconnection from Earth is in mind only. Every action, reaction, choice and decision a human makes has a direct affect on the Earth. Any change in the Earth or Universe has a direct affect on Humans. It is often beyond our consciousness and understanding to know what the affect is, but we are clearly seeing the culmination of those affects right now — for example, climate change, extinction of wildlife, Covid-19, chronic disease, degradation of our soil and food system. We see those affects through history and now — war, slavery, genocide, racism, oppression. Financial gains and egoic power reign supreme.

This search for human power is so silly. Humans create things like money, corporations, government to have what is perceived as “power”, but that power is only in body and mind. We tend to think this power makes us or other people untouchable, invincible – but it doesn’t. Every human is born and dies in the form of the body and mind that exists in this reality as we know it.

But the body doesn’t really die, it continues in the lifecycle, if allowed to do so through composting. The mind continues on in the collective mind. The energy of life continues on and though that single human no longer exists as we recognized them, their energy does, and that combines with all of the other nature out there to continue life on.

True power exists in tapping into our true self, our oneness with nature, Earth, the Universe. This is through peace and harmony.

When we separate humans from nature or the Earth or the Universe (all the same thing to me), we tend to think that when we “conserve” land we must bring it back to how it was at a specific time. The chosen time is completely arbitrary in the existence of the Earth and Universe. That “specific time” is still really just a human construct of how we view something to be better when it was like that. However, in that process we tend to not think about ourselves.

In the process of creating food to “feed the world” we neglected and continue to neglect (large farming and corporations) the fact that those processes are killing all of life on Earth as we know it – not even close to feeding the world. If the people growing the food can’t even afford to eat their own food – how is that even possible?!

Environmental groups are doing amazing things to help the Earth and all of life on it, but we’ll go do something great for the environment or a culture – like prevent a pipeline from being built, or prevent a forest from being cut down, or conserve a wetland, or save a whale from plastic – but then go use products that foster all of those issues, like go drive a fossil fuel car or boat to get groceries from a store that ships the food in from halfway around the world that was grown with toxic chemicals (that are destroying the soil, air, water – causing chronic disease) and wrapped in plastic.

Or we restore and conserve this land that is essentially only to be looked at by humans, meanwhile all of the human activity and interaction with the Earth around it is devastating. We are separating humans from nature, from Earth.

So what can we do instead to make  land usable and valuable for all of nature – including humans – for one, stop pretending like humans are separate from nature.

We are separating humans from nature. We can’t do this. It’s impossible because WE ARE NATURE – WE ARE THE EARTH. Indigenous peoples knew and know this. Human constructs that have led us to the brink of the 6th great extinction wiped those beautiful humans out. Imagine how beautiful life would be today if we had continued to live more like indigenous Americans prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Nature doesn’t try to go back to a way it was before, it just keeps dancing along gracefully. That is what we call evolution and birth. Going back to the way something was may only be a human construct. Degradation and stress bring us forward.

We do not need to go back to the way of the indigenous people we need to, as @zachbushmd says, “welcome the indigenous wisdom into a new future”.

Every single thing humans do affects the Earth and life on it. Every single thing. Every single thing that happens on this Earth affects humans.

We have to start thinking about how we can use our understanding of life, not to go back to some arbitrary time when something was a different way, but how we can create something better for humans to exist amongst the rest of the Earth in symbiotic positivity. 

Food forest gardens are one of the best examples I can think of and I am going to continue to reiterate the benefits of them…

This is one of the few food forest gardens on Cape Cod. It is fairly new (and mid-December) so it doesn’t look like much. Personally, I had nothing to do with this it was a volunteer group the Food Forest Initiative, of which I am getting involved.

This was a collaboration with Harwich Water Dept. and Eversouce as a way to control growth under the power lines without using synthetic chemicals. Due to the power lines, nothing over a certain height could be planted and trucks still need to be able to drive down the middle.

In a few years, this place will be lush with fruits. See (6b of 8 for what is planted there).

Benefits of Food Forest Gardens:

  • Food forest gardens are for the community // a place to reconnect with our food, regain awareness for our role in nature, a place to learn, reduce negative human impact on the Earth, a place to progress ourselves forward through peace, love, reverence, nature and food!
  • An environment in which we can learn to harmonize with the Earth, seeing our potential within it and taking that with us everywhere we go.
  • Perennial edible plants – grow stronger and are in the ground for years compared to one growing season with annuals / this means solar and water absorption, soil health, strong root systems and high quality tasty nutritious foods for long periods of time.
  • Regenerative organic practices / no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides
  • No synthetics means no pollution to the soil, air, water or food // cleaner everything!
  • Regenerate and improve Soil health
  • With improved soil we see increased water absorption and retention // no run off // no erosion
  • Cleaner water of all kind // the aquifer, ponds, rivers, marshes, bay, ocean
  • Healthy soil teaming with life, perennial plants from ground cover to canopy trees and vines provide hundreds of years of Carbon and greenhouse gas sequestration
  • Easy to plant hundreds to thousands of plants in a relatively small area
  • Thousands of plants in the healthy soil means increased sequestration 
  • Require much much less Maintainance to annual gardens with the plants and food coming back each year
  • Perennials provide homes and food for wildlife all year round
  • Generational // plants and trees will bear food for generations, not just years
  • Timber will be available for generations
  • Plants will go in stages, not all at once so much easier to replace them – cut a tree down, plant another tree
  • This all leads to reduced acute and chronic disease, less hate, less divisiveness
  • We tap into our true potential

The biggest thing we are missing with conservation, environmental work, regenerative agriculture movement – is the human aspect. We separate humans from the Earth, from the process, from the life of it.

Other than, maybe creating a pretty view or a path or preventing something bad from happening to the Earth or mitigating some man made structure from getting damaged, we are not including humans as part of the Earth. We have to live harmoniously and in reverence of the Earth, of Nature.

To do that, we have to include how humans can truly interact with nature, peacefully and respectfully. There is a lot to learn from the indigenous peoples whose culture, spirit, body and mind were strong enough to fend off attempts of full eradication. They had a deep understanding and we need to bring that understanding into current society. 

One of the best ways to bring people together, peacefully, and the connect with nature is through food. Our food is an absolutely major thing we have been neglecting for decades. There’s such a disconnect with the food due to the global food chain with the corportization of the food system,  healthcare, and pretty much everything else.

(8 of 9) People who grow food can’t afford to even feed themselves with the food they grow. They can’t afford to own the land they grow the food on. The government pays farmers to stay afloat, to use synthetic chemicals, to further spin the wheel and line the right pockets.

Lets create a localized food system that will grow stronger and be around for decades and centuries. A system that will harmonize humans as part the Earth and will help prevent erosion and sequester carbon and clean our water and retain more of it and be teeming with life.

Instead of bringing some piece of land back to the way it was following the complete deforestation of Cape Cod, we should be trying to bring the ways and spirit of how the Wampanoag lived on the Cape (prior to European arrival) to the present day while guiding life on Earth towards our future with food sovereignty and natural harmony.

(8 of 9)We need to be thinking generationally. We should be planting things that are going to set us up right to be able to inhabit this land for hundreds more years – that means carbon sequestration, soil regeneration, erosion prevention, water health and retention, that means high quality food produced in every community for everyone in the community.

That means planting nut trees who’s true nut bearing potential may not come to fruition in our lifetime. This means creating spaces where children can learn about all of these things and it becomes a part of their daily life – visiting the local food forest gardens, and getting motivated to plant on their own property. Just knowing about the importance of soil health, clean air, clean water, healthy food – growing up with it – not having to learn about it and change an entire fucked up system based on destruction of life for this made up thing we humans call money.

Aubrey Marcus said this very well too, something like, if we would come together and care about the right things, we can mitigate the 6th great extinction. Humans are the one species on Earth with the intelligence to do that. If we come together as a species and with nature, that is. If we stop fighting each other and the Earth, we can change everything. It’s made much more complicated than it is.

Create change through living it.

 

-Shaun ✌️

2 thoughts on “Humans Are Nature

  1. Shaun – I just recently came across your Observing Experience blog and would like to applaud your efforts to share your thoughts with whomever chooses to read them. You raise so many important issues that all people alive today should be concerned about. Yet I can honestly say that the vast majority of people I know have little or no interest in even thinking about what a precarious position we are all in. It is incredibly frustrating, disappointing and downright frightening to me that most people could care less about the future, the health of the earth, and our survival as a species. The question is: what can be done to change these peoples’ minds, to wake them up, to convince them that every one of us has a stake in this?

    I’m 63 and have been an environmentalist for as long as I can remember. Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was a wake-up call for me in my teens. I was in junior high school when we celebrated the first Earth Day. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in natural places and learned to love nature and the earth for its beauty, fragility, and transformative power. Yet, in the first half of my adulthood, I know I was not as concerned about the effects of my actions on the earth as I should have been. And this even though I considered myself an environmentalist. But as I grew older, and as I read more and more about how humans are destroying our only home, it became obvious to me that I had to change many aspects of how I live if I want not to continue to be a part of the problem.

    Most people I know say that they could never give up the things they like and enjoy – a perfect lawn, two SUVs in the driveway, the constant use of single-use throw-away plastics, getting on planes 15-20 times per year, keeping the house at 74 degrees all year long via heating and A/C – because they do not believe that doing so will make any difference in the long run. I’m willing to make these changes in my life because I can no longer – in all good conscience – continue to be part of the problem. But what about everyone else? Not just in this country, but all over the world?

    I have a hard time believing that it’s not too late. I very much doubt human society as a whole will ever care enough to make the necessary changes to ensure our survival. I don’t think business, or government, or institutions will ever change their focus from money and power to nature and human survival. At least not willingly. It seems to me that we are quickly running out of time, and even the catastrophic effects of climate change are not convincing enough. Where does that leave us?

    I hate to be negative. I hate feeling almost hopeless. But it is heartening to know that there are others out there – even right here on the Cape – who feel similarly. Thank you for being willing to put your thoughts out there for us to read.

    Best of luck to you.

    Keith Brown
    Marstons Mills

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