I just read a very interesting article about the modern spiritualization of nature versus the often cold, hard reality, via a link from William Neill’s facebook page…
A few excerpts…
“Yet there is a serious problem with our idea of sacred nature, and that is that the idol is a false one. If we experience the natural world as a place of succor and comfort, it is in large part because we have made it so. Only 20 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface is still home to all the large mammals it held five hundred years ago, and even across those refugia they are drastically reduced in abundance. The seas have lost an estimated 90 percent of their biggest fish. For decades there were almost no wolves, grizzly bears, or even bald eagles in the lower 48, and modern recovery projects have brought them back to only a small fraction of their former ranges. Scientists speak of an “ecology of fear” that once guided the movements and behavior of animals that shared land- and seascapes with toothy predators—an anxiety that humans once shared. In much of what’s left of the wild, that dread no longer applies even to deer or rabbits, let alone us. The sheer abundance and variety of the living world, its endless chaos of killing and starving and rutting and suffering, its routine horrors of mass death and infanticide and parasites and drought have faded from sight and mind. We have rendered nature an easy god to worship.”
“This modern love of the earth is ironic—it is a reaction against the destruction of nature, but is also a product of that destruction.”
“… what we call nature today is a kinder, gentler, more depauperate world than at any time since at least the late Paleozoic, some 300 million years ago. Nature is not a temple, but a ruin. A beautiful ruin, but a ruin all the same.”
“Are we to blame a global society’s accumulating insults against the biosphere on people who meditate in the desert or find divinity beneath the redwoods? No. But the way you see the world determines much about the world you are willing to live in, and the spiritual lens has failed us as a tool for seeing clearly.”
~ J.B. MacKinnon, Orion Magazine
Though I’m happy to not have to worry about becoming lunch as I wander through local wilderness, there is definitely much to chew on (pun intended… awful pun) in this piece with regards to the consequences of a largely defanged natural world. We have, and will continue to pay an increasingly steep price for the way we’ve “altered” the natural landscape.
The full article can be found here…
Not exactly light reading, but worth the time to digest it all.