7.5 billion humans on Earth (and counting) depend on functioning ecosystems. The world’s forests, oceans, rivers and other natural habitats perform vital functions in regulating the air we breathe, providing the food we eat, the water we drink, and offer protection against the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
We are part of the natural world and whatever language we use to describe the pheonomenon – the Anthropocene, the Sixth Mass Extinction – there is no doubt that our actions are beginning to shape nature in ways that are not just harmful for other life forms but, fundamentally for ourselves too. To see nature as ‘other’, something external to us which we can control, is to lose sight of a simple truth:
“We are nature. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves.” – Satish Kumar
Of course, nature is not always benign, and many people are only too aware of their dependence on the natural world. People living on the frontline in regions of the world most affected by climate change may need no reminder of their connection to nature. However, particularly in the ‘developed’ world, interaction with other species, natural landscapes and ‘the great outdoors’ continues to decline.