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.