Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Experience as a Survival Imperative, for Humanity and Our Earth

Elemental Beauty - Image c Lynda Lehmann 2009


A few days ago I read Robb's post Troubled Waters, at Musings at Aorotea. Robb's posts always resonate with me. They speak truths that many of us don't take the time to articulate, and his passion and wisdom inspire me. You might want to go over to read it and see if you feel the same way. Robb's heartfelt post moved me to write this related post.

Thinking about Robb's words, I remembered canoeing on stretches of the Delaware in places where my oar could not cut through the tangle of weeds nurtured by fertilizer runoff from surrounding farms. It was literally impossible to pull an oar through that underwater thicket. I'm sure that over the years, many would-be canoers have had to turn back when the going got tough, as we did. It was difficult and very sad to have to explain to our then six-year-old daughter, why we couldn't continue downstream.

I've seen pristine jewels of azure blue lakes nestled in the hills of New Hampshire, glistening in the sun, only to find out that they are dead from acid rain. NOTHING lives in them. I've also discovered other gems of lakes not in proximity to towns or industry, that are fighting infestations of Eurasian milfoil, an invasive aquatic plant.

I've seen a small local lake fouled by the waste of a single diaper containing fecal material. How irresponsible and unnecessary it was for that thoughtless person to pollute the crystal clear water with a disposable diaper, full of human waste! Our waterways are not garbage cans.

It's imperative to our survival on this Earth, for us to treat all aspects of the natural world with reverence. It is our precious planet that sustains all life, and we should not foul or squander our resources.

It seems we will be in an eternal struggle with what is pure and magnificent, in trying to build the edifices of human technology. At this rate, our realizations will come too late. I'm naturally an optimist but the writing is on the wall: man subjugates Nature. At least, he tries to!

It's not that we INTEND her destruction. But our profit motives and limited perspectives keep us anchored in an acquisition mentality, instead of an experiential mentality. It seems that we have given ourselves up to fear, and in trying to assuage our chronic, creeping fear--of loneliness, deprivation, scarcity, enmity--we forget about the imperative for pursuing EXPERIENCE. When we don't take time to experience the natural world, life becomes stale and much less meaningful. And then we forget to take care of Planet Earth, who sustains us and delights us with her beauty, as well.

We live in cages of our own device. Our complacency makes us accomplices as we further plunder the Earth in ways that are destructive and unsustainable.

When I'm here in the forests of Maine, feeling the embrace of the natural world, I sleep in peace.... I think we would all sleep better all the time, if we found our political will and took a stand on environmental issues that effect our collective survival.

What's the most joyous experience you've ever had, in encounter with nature? On the other side of the coin, have you run head-on into any form of environmental destruction that was clearly wrought by humankind?

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