Every time in nature I feel more connected to the heart of things. Vast oceans teeming with life, mountains shadowing valleys below, wind sweeping across deserts, carrying the sounds and smells of a million places with it, the warmth of the sun on your skin… the smell of crisp fresh air. It is important to take the time to be in nature, think about it all and appreciate the moment you are in.
These things are all awe-inspiring and being in their presence affords you the time to be reflective on life and look objectively on the world. I remember this feeling most on a three month Arctic expedition I was on. That amount of time in nature’s harsh elements forces the clutter of daily life out of one’s head and gives one the chance to look in at the world as 'an outsider'. I remember thinking to myself how incredible our species is to have evolved to do the things we do, but also how lost we are within the way we live with the knowledge we have. The knowledge we have been passed on from a thousand other discoveries from generations before us.
It made me understand where the human ego comes a little more. Think about it. If all of our memories were wiped tomorrow, we would not even be able to tie our shoelaces. Most human beings have this innate feeling that somehow we are better than other creatures on this planet and therefore have the right to abuse the intelligence we have to control and use them for our benefit, without a regard for their lives and wellbeing. But all our intelligence in essence is an accumulation of small discoveries over a long period of time.
The main two things that leaped the human species forward in evolution are opposable thumbs and the potential to communicate with one another. This ability to communicate is what has allowed us to share information over time and build on what people before us have learned about the planet. As incredible as we seem, all we are doing is adding to this and building on experiences before us.
I can see how people can mistake our species for a godlike creature, better than the rest. One that has ‘the right’ to choose what can live and die, suffer or not. But this is not the way to live. Nor is it the way our species will live harmoniously with mother earth and survive in the years to come. We have to respect every element of life and view ourselves as equals to the rest and in striving for such a way of living the world will instantly be a better place.
Our striving to have a better relationship with nature can help us all to have the ability to look at the bigger picture and not get caught up in small things in life. Enabling us to put aside meaningless differences. It will help us take away what I like to call the ‘confused human ego’ and allow us to live a more humble and peaceful existence.
In that picture from out of space we are one. There are no borders, races, and nationalities. We are all people of one home. Let’s start acting that way and use the knowledge and intelligence we have to create a better world.