April 22 is Earth Day! The theme of this 2017 Earth Day is Environmental and Climate Literacy. Education and awareness are critical to advancing the way the global community responds to climate change and environmental degradation, and a core part of this is understanding our relationship with nature. The piece below is an excerpt from an article by Alice Cunningham of Shumei International published on The Huffington Post. Read the full text here.
Ask a few of the people you know what it means to be connected, and you’ll get a range of answers. Some overwhelmingly think of being connected as communicating via social media or the internet. Many give a different answer – the word “relationships” come up. Others think of either emotional or social attachments.
However, in this unscientific experiment, two words come up in all conversations: communication and community. These share a root word: communis, which is Latin for “together” (com) and “exchange” or “link” (munis). Despite the unsurprising differences in the answers as to how we connect, the idea of “communing” remains constant.
That idea of communing is something to consider if you’re reading this on Earth Day. As we think about how we relate to nature, let’s renew – and re-think – that relationship with an eye toward our common, interconnected link.
What does it mean to be connected to nature? We don’t just live in nature or visit it. The fact is that we are “of” nature – we are a product of it and we embody the forces and properties of the natural world. Beginning at the dawn of humankind and continuing in America with the likes of Thoreau and Muir – the concept that people need to be connected to nature has never been far from our consciousness.
What’s surprising is just how cut off from nature we have become in our day-to-day lives. For too many of us in modern society, the closest we get to nature is unconsciously breathing the air and eating the fruits of nature. At a basic level, many simply have no idea where their food comes from; we may believe that it just appears in the market, wrapped in plastic, devoid of any origin.
However, the fact is – we can’t live without a connection to the earth – literally…