“We need a new mass movement that bears witness to a right way of living on our finite, life-giving planet.”

One of the ways I relate with nature is spending time on the lake with my friend and teacher Paul.

I found an interesting article about being in “right relationship” with nature, called Humans & Nature: The Right Relationship. If I were writing this article, I might have said “balanced versus imbalanced relationship” rather than “right versus wrong relationship.” Who are we to know what is “right” in the grand scheme of things?

In this long, comprehensive article, the authors take a heady approach to explaining the ins and outs of achieving a shift in our economy to better relationships between humans and nature. They talk about an epiphany that will lead everyone to “commit to individual and collective changes that will lead to right relationship.” But, how do we reach such a state? The authors admit the answer is not easy to find.

For me, I take the time each day to connect with others around me, whether they are human people or non-human people like trees, to acknowledge their value and take joy in their existence in any small way I can. That is one of the best ways I can make this change in my own value system.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:

The postwar financial success of a globalized economy has led to the continuing expansion of finance and consumption and to prosperity for hundreds of millions of people, but it has also trapped the nations of the world in a relentless pursuit of economic growth with no thermostat or shutoff valve….

We tend to think only about how humans should be sharing the benefits and burdens of living with other humans. An economy in right relationship has to include the fair sharing of the earth’s life-support capacities with all of life’s commonwealth….

In a whole earth economy, fairness requires that we seek a flourishing earth—a world that works for all. Above a certain amount needed to maintain a roof over their family and put food on the table each day, human beings in every country surveyed are not made happier by more material goods, even in significant amounts. What does make us happy are the ideals promoted by almost every ethical tradition known: belonging to a community; enjoying good health; sharing; loving and being loved; having access to nature; making a meaningful contribution….

When we envision the true limitations, responsibilities, and mystery of living on the earth, we will begin to experience far more fulfilling lives than the excessive acquisition of material possessions can ever provide….

Grounding and clarification begin with the recognition that it makes much more sense to be inspired to live within the ecological limits of the earth than to ignore the ecological consequences of relentless economic growth….

As a better future built on right relationship comes into sharper focus, a mass epiphany is bound to take place. Everyone who wants to preserve the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the commonwealth of life for future generations needs to commit to individual and collective changes that will lead to right relationship. It is impossible to predict how or when this epiphany will take place. But it is possible to hope for it and work for it by bearing active witness to the concept of right relationship and to the urgent need for change.

If you find other articles, art, images or poetry showing human beings relating to nature, please send them my way.

Talk to trees!



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