“The power of story is that it bypasses rhetoric and pierces the heart ”
— Terry Tempest Williams
Our Stories Define Who We Are And How We Conduct Our Lives
The major problem that we humans face in this age is not climate change, over-consumption, or population growth. Our problem is that we are guided by an inaccurate underlying story about Nature — which is our home. Another word for “story” is “worldview”. Worldview is commonly defined as a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.
Charles Eisenstein, in his book “Ascent of Humanity” says:
“A story paints a particular picture of how life is or should be and directly shapes our lives and our world, often without our even being aware of its influence.”
“Like other cultures before us, we have created a mythology, a constellation of stories to explain The Way of the World. It includes the forces of nature, the forces of human nature, the story of our origins, and an account of our role and function in the universe. Like those of all cultures, our mythology is not wholly fabricated but a window on the truth, that is seen through the distorting lens of our culture’s prejudices. Our stories are mostly unconscious. A story paints a particular picture of how life is or should be and directly shapes our lives and our world, often without our even being aware of its influence.”
Climate change, over-consumption, and population growth problems are the results of being guided by an inaccurate story.
Kenny Ausubel, in his book Dreaming The Future [ https://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Future-Reimagining-Civilization-Nature/dp/1603584595 ], says:
“It is not a new gadget that’s going to make us more sustainable as a culture — it is a change of heart and a new set of eyes, a new way of viewing and valuing the world in which we are embedded and on which we depend.”
The lives of we modern human adults are being guided by a destructive and inaccurate worldview about how Nature operates. In order to survive, our consciousness needs to become synchronous with how Nature really operates. The purpose of this essay is to offer a list of some of the important features of Nature that we humans are unaware or have chosen to ignore.
Our youth can build a bright future by acquiring an accurate and informed story about Nature
This non-inclusive list, created from many sources including Kenny Ausubel’s book, may serve as a starting point for the development or enhancement of curriculum in our environmental education programs where our youth are in the process of preparing for adulthood by developing an accurate worldview and consciousness that contains an informed story about Nature.
- Human survival depends upon having an informed story about Nature that is based on good science.
- There is no separation between human beings and the environment!! Nature can live without humans but humans cannot live without Nature.
- The living biological truth is that human health is dependent on the health of the environment.
- Centralized human developed command-and-control worldviews, top-down human high technologies, and globalized human cultures characterize a dysfunctional civilization at odds with the decentralized intelligence of living systems.
- Our real world is Nature. Nature consists of webs of interdependence. “Systems” is the word that guides us to the web of life and the health of the whole. The word “systems” changes our perspective from ‘I’ and ‘me’ to ‘we’, ‘ours, and ‘us’.
- Local links run the world. Think ants, fish schools, bird flocks, and human crowds.
- Interactions between things are more important than the things themselves.
- The nature of Nature is constant change.
- The name of the game is resilience. It means the capacity of both human and ecological systems to absorb disturbance and still retain their basic function and structure. Resilience does not mean just bouncing back to business-as-usual. It means assuring the very ability to get back. But if ecological regime change happens, resilience means having sufficient capacity to transform to meet the new management.
- The first principle of resilience thinking is systems thinking: It’s all connected, from the web of life to human systems—“ You can only solve the whole problem,”
- Our new declaration of independence is from fossil fuels and imperial entanglements.
- There is no boundary that will protect Nature from a suffering humanity. If we are to save what is wild, what is irreparable and majestic in Nature, then we will ironically have to turn to each other and take care of all the human beings here on Earth.
- The scent of money and political will destroys human humility and precaution when we engage Nature.
- Nature optimizes rather than maximizes— it designs for the good of the whole system.
- Nature leverages interdependence by recycling all materials, fostering cooperative relationships, and creating self-organizing systems.
- Nature uses benign manufacturing with “life-friendly” materials, water-based chemistry, and self-assembly.
- Nature constantly adapts and evolves.
- Nature is resourceful and opportunistic. It uses feedback loops to keep learning and responding. It integrates cyclic processes. It cross-pollinates and mutates. It builds resilience through diversity, decentralization, and redundancy, allowing for failure and building in safeguards to avoid the possibility of crashing the whole system at once.
- Nature runs on current sunlight.
- Nature depends upon diversity.
- Nature rewards cooperation.
- Nature builds from the bottom up.
- Nature recycles everything.
- Nature creates conditions conducive to life.
- In Nature, survival of a species depends upon the optimal use of energy. While we humans indiscriminately guzzle energy, Nature sips it.
- Ecology is the study of relationships. Restoring the environment is about creating and sustaining healthy, functional relationships — both between people and Nature and between people and people.
- Restoring natural ecology first requires restoring the social ecology of humans. This means connecting all the fractured agencies and people.
- The limiting factor to human wellbeing and development is not human-made capital, it is life itself.
For Your Further Consideration
Our earth is a living system that transports and transforms the energy necessary for all life to exist. The key to an active ecoliteracy that results in a healthy environment for all life on earth is the building of a systems view of life into the minds and hearts of humanity. This worldview (the “Living Earth Story”) is supported by the fact that all of Nature is interconnected and interdependent.
Environmental educators, their students, scientists, and all stewards of Nature are a powerful progressive force that, through their knowledge about Nature, through the legacies that they create, and through their informed actions are capable of overseeing the well-being of our home — Mother Earth
Environmental education is not simply offering facts. Environmental education must be hands-on, and action-based if ideas, facts, and effective conservation strategies are to become a worldview in the minds and hearts of all of our youth. Environmental education must include the acts of passing this consciousness on to future generations.
If you are interested in working with me, other environmental educators, and other stewards of Nature to build a legacy of young people who will embrace and evangelize the worldview that “Everything on Earth is Connected and Interdependent”, please provide your questions and comments in the space provided below or by contacting me at my Twitter account @ballenamar.
Please Comment Here
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.