“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts” — Rachel Carson
On occasion, I’ve expressed my anger over humanity’s lack of a consciousness toward Nature and our precious natural resources. Four of my readers have privately taken me to task for my negative comments. In truth, they were right because I was not offering solutions, I was simply complaining.
Indeed, recent history accurately portrays an ongoing and angry battle between environmentalists and those who feel they can dominate Nature. No one is winning even though the key issue is ultimately the survival of humanity in a gradually deteriorating environment that is partly the result of human insensitivity.
As noted in a previous post, nature photographer, Rafael Rojas , states that we are the first generation of human beings that are totally detached from the natural world. He says :
“for millions of years we have lived as another species grounded to our natural environment. But now, cities have become the new ecosystem for us, an artificially created one where, instead of experiences so basic to our natural history, we now fill ourselves with money, career, success, commercial malls and technology. Our urban world and its goodies keep us busy, and alienated in most cases. It has become impossible for us to remember what happened to the natural world that our ancestors enjoyed.”
I believe that Rojas accurately states the problem – a lack of Nature consciousness within much of the human race. The result is a deteriorating environment. I have come to believe that the restoration of a Nature consciousness necessary for a healthy environment cannot be resolved through the tension of conflicting views. This has been the mistake of many well-meaning environmental groups.
So, how does one restore a consciousness for Nature in human beings? Most certainly, the adults are not listening because they are too busy with their goodies. Many people and groups are now coming to realize that the secret lies in our children and in our youth. Young people respond and learn through awe and wonder.
Richard Louv of Children and Nature Network says:
“I will never forget the time I sprawled in the grass, turned over a rock, discovered the bugs crawling underneath…and realized that I was part of a bigger world. ”
Young people are not yet culturally conditioned to a way of life where humanity dominates Nature. They are open to new ideas and new world views. The idea of protecting our Earth by building a Nature consciousness within our next generation is gaining momentum. Of many groups with growing sustainability education ideas, I note four who direct their programs to our young people:
As for me, I am an educator in Mexico doing special programs with talented Mexican youth. With the premise that young people listen to young people, my group of 15 teens are creating and teaching a hands-on environmental consciousness program that will be offered by them to all of the schools in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. This month we are starting with fourth grade children because they are very responsive to ideas that are presented with awe and wonder. Our basic theme is that everything in Nature is connected. In the Guaymas area, we are fortunate to have a beautiful estuary with much wildlife and plants. The theme of connections in Nature will be presented at the estuary where everyone can see, touch, smell and listen to real connections in Nature. In this setting, we are emphasizing the importance of these connections.
There are many teachers, environmental specialists, and devout Nature lovers among my group of readers. I strongly encourage you to comment with your ideas that may help us develop, grow, and sustain this effort. It would bring me great joy to know that this new program is being developed with the help of my readers. And, you will know that you are part of an important team that helps build a new consciousness for Nature within young people.
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.