Round 7- Connecting

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Though religion is likely the biggest factor in shaping individual’s worldviews and connection with the Earth, I don’t believe that it is essential to this deep connection. Throughout written history people have searched for meaning in their lives, usually finding it in spirituality or religion. In Native American and Pacific religions, this connection to a higher power is intertwined with a deep connection to the Earth which they live off of.

I believe that people’s personal connection with the Earth is shaped by their environment. This connection was inherent when all people lived off of the land, but in present day with so many children isolated in urban settings their connection must be built with their education and upbringing. In a societal setting, education functions as part of the environment, and has the power to change and shape worldviews of both young and old.

With an absence of an earth centered religion and isolation from the beauty of the natural world, I think that education is critical to building connections with the earth and subsequently caring about its future. I firmly believe that this connection is intrinsic, even though it is repressed by our modern culture, with its roots in dualistic ideals and a logic of dominance. In our society, education is the most valuable tool in nurturing care for the environment. Even those who do feel this connection turn it off at times, myself included, but being able to reconnect to ones “animal body” is essential public knowledge if we wish to combat environmental degradation.

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3 responses »

  1. I agree with you on most of the accounts you have talked about except for the last point on “animal bodies” and the “essentialness” of having to connect with the environment. I think that we as humans, inhabitants of the earth, can have an intrinsic value towards and can appreciate the earth and all of its inhabitants without having to be spiritually connected to it. I come from a Christian standpoint and I feel that my belief that God made the Earth and all of its belongings, in itself makes it sacred. And I value it enough to have a deep appreciation for it. Also, we all can’t live in rural areas. Therefore making the argument that if we didn’t live in urban areas we would have a deeper connection to the environment. That is not a practical, realistic, or true statement. We need our cities. They are our main source of commerce. I think that maybe a middle ground would be to build things like rooftop gardens or more central parks for urban people that will never be exposed to life outside the city life.

  2. I agree with you that religion is not necessary for developing a caring connection with nature. Rather, I think the presence or absence of such a connection is a product of our modern society, family upbringing, and cultural surroundings. I think environmental education is key to developing a dominant worldview that respects nature and sees individual as members of a larger biotic community. It is also important that we learn to control the consumptive habits we’ve adopted post-Industrial Age in order to act in the environment’s best interest and allow for enough resources in the future for the continuation of the human race (c.f. Norton).

  3. I agree that religion is not necessary for a connection with nature and that education is very important, but I also think that being able to experience nature firsthand on a regular basis would help a lot more than what can be taught in books. Activities such as hiking, kayaking, hunting, or mountain biking really helps put things in perspective that reading a book doesn’t. Believe it or not, some of the most powerful conservationists are hunters, who believe in preserving land just to have the opportunity to shoot a couple of animals a year.

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