Yesterday I walked through a small 1-acre park in the middle of miles of corn and alfalfa fields in central Nebraska. It was filled with the sound of frogs, birds and insects, in the trees, ponds and grass of this small oasis, making me realize I hadn’t heard such fullness in the air for a very long time. Local people provided this oasis for local flora and fauna to fill.
James Lovelock believes that the Earth is really a lot of interconnected organisms and minerals that work with each other to generate and maintain the living environment that is the Earth. He calls this the Gaia Principle . The Gaia Principle shows that we are all intimately connected, and when anything is removed or changed, the whole is changed.
This means that whatever we do, we impact our natural environment; and in order to bring balance back into our lives, we need to pay attention to both our power and the power of every other life in the area – because it all contributes to determine what kind of place we live in, right down to the weather. This is an ancient piece of aboriginal wisdom that still prevails.
I was inspired by an NPR Ted Talk hour August 29th [link to ] where the idea of connection was discussed from a Nature viewpoint. Here are some of the highlights:
Rewilding: allowing Nature to decide what plants and animals populate an area, and even more, building our communities with this as an essential part of the plan. George Monbiot talked about what happened when a few wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park: they literally altered the stream beds. The began to regulate the deer population, which changed the deer’s behavior, ultimately altering the growth of trees and grasses; which in turn encouraged an increase of beavers, further altering the environment and making it attractive to other species.
Pollination: Marla Spivak, a bee scientist, pointed out the absolute necessity of bees in pollinating the food we and other animals eat. She personally burned down her lawn and let it go back to nature. When her community protested, she put up a “pollinator habitat” sign and they left her alone. She may have even encouraged others to follow her example.
Sound: Bernie Krause spoke of “soundscapes” – linking sound to survival. He gave numerous examples of what happens when one seeming insignificant thing changes. For instance, the complete disappearance of birds in an area of selective logging.
Breath: Jan Poynter, a participant in Biosphere II, discovered how simply our breathing intimately connects us to everything around us in both time and space. The Biosphere they lived in and depended upon was altered because of their breath to the point that they needed outside intervention. With each breath we take, we emit carbon dioxide, take in oxygen, altering the immediate temperature and humidity. The food we eat is made partly from our breath, and the breath of other animals, and when we ingest it, we are in a certain real way, ingesting ourselves.
There is a lot we can do every day that is meaningful and immediately impacts our world for the better. Here are a few:
Take a moment to be aware – Be aware of how we are connecting with our world simply through our breath; every time we take a breath, we are connecting interactively.
Actively connect with something or someone – our lives and well-being depend on the lives and well-being of all the plants and animals that live where we live.
Rewild the neighborhood – there are both little and big things we can do to encourage rewilding in our neighborhoods, from re-introducing native plant species to stopping logging and continued growth into natural habitats.
James Lovelock Explains Gaia on The Sacred
Balance with David Suzuki