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The Essence of Caring For Nature

December 5, 2015
Sarah Hartman

One of the greatest misconceptions about conservationists is that we place the importance of nature above the importance of humanity. For radical conservationists that may indeed be the case. However, for most of us it is a matter of paying attention to what we see, learning about what is happening in our natural world, and connecting it to the well-being of our present and future generations. For example, many islanders around the world live under the imminent threat of losing their homes and lands due to heavy flooding from glacial melting. If that happens, they will become climate refugees, a term we will hear more and more often if our climate continues to change unchecked. Conservationists do not place nature nor humanity one above the other, but we do place them on the same level playing field. This is what we call ecocentrism, a philosophy that denotes a nature-centered system of values.

 

What do I mean by connecting nature to the well-being of humanity? Simple. We know, through consensus in the scientific community , that certain facts are true: increased biodiversity leads to more economic opportunity. We know that access to clean water, food and information are basic human rights and that all three are critically dependant on the surrounding environment's health. We know that urban dwellers are happier and healthier in areas covered by dense treeline. We know that billions of people around the world - the majority of humanity - who feed us - live and work in rural areas that are largely dependant on the climate. We know that social and political stability stems, among other factors, from the lack of conflict over basic resources. We know that we depend on nature, yet nature is threatened. If we are to survive and enjoy a healthy, happy life, then we need to make sure that nature is healthy.

From these examples it is clear that there is an inalienable link between humans and their environment. If we fail to take action now to restore and protect the environment we depend on, then we, as humans, fail to ensure that present and future generations enjoy a world that is safe, secure, and that continues to progress.

 

On a personal note, I have a deeply ingrained belief that we are in this world to be our best, to give our best, to do our best, to change for the best. I chose to act on this belief through the ecocentric, conservationist route. This is why my husband, Colin Hartman, and I chose to start a business that supports rainforest restoration and protection in one of the world’s most threatened, yet most biodiverse, biomes on Earth. We strongly believe that our work for the conservation of that biome will lead to a more secure region where farmers thrive and grow a variety of crops, where water access is not a concern because its natural capital is secure, and where beauty is conserved, because, other than needing nature to survive, humanity needs nature’s beauty to flourish, to be impressed by, to be humbled by and to draw inspiration from.

 

Further reading & watching relevant to this topic:

Nature is Speaking: http://natureisspeaking.org/ Next City: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/city-trees-care-tending-people-happiness

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