When we get absorbed by the little things that tantalize, frustrate, anger and amuse, we fail to see the big picture. Whether it’s relationships, politics, social status, or picture-perfect gardens, they can blind us to reality.
This is the age of advanced telescopes that can focus on the far reaches of our universe to give us a glimpse of what was billions of years ago, long before our sun and planets were born out of the dust of dying stars.
The universe is in a constant state of change and we are an important part of this evolution. Clearly, time is an illusion and it is only this moment that reveals the truth. When fully present, we are essentially the universe conscious of itself.
Our planet is perfectly located for life to flourish. It’s had its ups and downs with several mass extinctions in its past, but life has always bounced back and the diversity we see today is due to countless agents of change from environmental challenges to species interactions.
The human species has been the greatest challenge to biodiversity in that we not only physically push out other species by taking away their habitats but are also significantly changing the environment and climate in which they’ve thrived. In addition, we are upsetting the balance by bringing new species into local natural communities. We have been imposing these pressures so quickly that many fellow creatures can’t adapt fast enough and are threatened with extinction.
Environmental activists are desperately trying to stop, slow or reverse the damage. This growing awareness of human impact will hopefully bring back some stability, but there is no way we can restore natural communities of the past. We best work with the present situation and be participants in the process of evolution. We can do this by accepting the fact that we’ve altered the natural environment, the climate has changed and that invasive non-native plant and animal species have become part of the local community. The best we can do is be aware of our impact and provide refuge for the native species that have lost their niche.
Collectively, humans “own” most of the habitable land on earth. Rather than seek to control everything on the land we call our own, we best see ourselves as humble members and participants in the natural community that exists there. If we remove a non-native species that has run rampant, then we should immediately replace it with a native species. If we poison one to get it under control, we poison the whole. Our patch of land is a small but vital piece of the complex fabric that makes up the thin and fragile surface of the earth. We share our space with countless other creatures. Anything we do affects the whole either positively or negatively. Once we recognize that we ourselves are part of this fabric, we understand that anything we do affects our own well-being.
Rather than looking to the past with regret or focusing on the future with fear or hope, it would be wise for us to be fully aware of the present with the understanding that working with Nature is really the only way to live effectively. Nature has a way of rebounding from catastrophes. If we consciously work with her, we’re on the right track.
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