“The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man”
— Rachel Carson
Nature’s “genius” does not respond to human control where one simply pushes one button to get one predictable result. Instead, Nature’s “genius” is in her ability to transport and transform the energy which is her lifeblood. These processes of energy transformation and transportation operate through a set of organizing principles:
- Everything in Nature is connected in some way to everything else.
- Nature’s connectivity is manifested in Her highly complex and uniquely organized ecosystems.
- Nature is both ordered and chaotic.
- Nature’s systems are uniquely constructed complex, internally resilient networks.
- A large percentage of Nature’s systems are self organized, without leaders, using a fixed set of rules.
- Likewise, Nature’s systems are “self-similar” where a new state is a copy of an old state at a different level of magnification.
These organizing principles from Nature offer us many clues and insights into how She operates. Through the science of complex systems, Nature has brought us new, interesting, and useful revelations about the vital importance of energy flow through these connections. These principles imply both limitations that Nature imposes upon man as well as opportunities. In Her complexity, Nature shows us that some knowledge is beyond the reach of humanity. But, Nature also reveals some of Her secrets. It is in those revelations we see opportunity to conserve and protect the environment within which we depend for our very survival.
The underlying messages that are sent to us by way of the six organizing principles of Nature provide both cautionary advice and guiding principles:
Message #1: Don’t mess with Nature’s connections
In order to process energy, Nature’s is highly interconnected. If you mess with one thing, most likely you will affect something else. Energy connections are broken.
Message #2: Mankind cannot control Nature
Nature’s systems are highly unpredictable. Humans cannot control Nature. Despite our intelligence and increased knowledge, Nature seems quite capable of managing herself without any outside controlling intelligence. Human intelligence often does more harm than good.
Message #3: Conservation is the act of protecting Nature’s energy flow
While we humans cannot “manage” or predict Nature, we can identify, work with, and passively protect Her energy connections.
“Connectivity consciousness” is a sense of how and why everything is interrelated. It is also an internal map of how to act when addressing ecological issues.Nothing in Nature can stand alone. And by understanding the simple idea that everything is connected, we also understand why Nature is so complex.
With your new “connectivity consciousness”, you are equipped to ask the right questions when you approach any ecological issue. Those questions are:
• What are the conduits of energy that exist in the ecosystem under study and how can these energy connections be preserved?
• What might happen if changes are made to these conduits either by mankind or by Nature?
By asking and seeking answers to these very important questions is the beginning of any successful conservation effort. But a conservation project will falter or fail if three vitally important factors are missing.
Good science is an absolutely essential foundation for any conservation project because it is the science that defines a conservation problem and provides the basis for a conservation goal.
Strong community influence and support is essential because the cooperation of the community is needed to carry out a conservation program. The missing component in poor community support is usually inadequate community education. Community education , in turn, is tied to the generation of well researched scientific fact by respected individuals.
Skilled facilitation. Effective, experienced facilitators serve to bring parties together to develop a mutually agreeable conservation plan. Many times, facilitators are non-government organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.
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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.