Is it time to reconnect with the earth?

February 20, 2019 · Print This Article

“There’s a danger of losing our tenure on this planet.”[1]

Scary thought! These are the words of scientist James Lovelock, one of the most influential environmental thinkers of our time. Aged 99, he is gentle and unassuming but has powerful ideas.

Maybe like you, in the constant stream of the global warming rhetoric calling for change it can be hard to separate the hot air from the ‘so what can I do on a personal level’ stuff. I think this is where Lovelock’s ideas can help. I like them for their simplicity in a hugely complex global problem.

His belief is called Gaia Theory. Widely accepted by scientists, he believes the earth is a self-regulating system – earth is alive like any other living thing. Gaia looks after us. “The earth has an impossible atmosphere…the odds against it run into the countless billion-to-one against.”[2] But because we have not looked after earth, the system is out of balance.

Ok, so what do we do? Reconnect.

Machines, technology and cities have taken our attention, separating us from mother nature – we have left our first love, for the love of another. Maybe this terrestrial cheating has led us to neglect that which cares for us – earth. But can we do something?

Reconnecting is about where we direct our interest and attention. When we give appropriate attention to our relationships, they thrive. In the same way, Lovelock suggests taking more of an interest in the natural world – in plants, animals and things that grow naturally. Pay attention to the life around us. This can work on a simple level.

The night I watched Lovelock being interviewed, I realised I had been stuck indoors giving all my attention to my computer screen. I couldn’t remember the last time I had gone for a walk. I knew I needed fresh air and a change of environment. That night I went for a long overdue walk.

I noticed my breathing, the stars and moon, the stillness and silence. I felt lighter, more relaxed. The stress I had experienced by the incessant use of my laptop subsided. I looked up at the infinitely complex universe and my perspective changed. I connected with nature and something more spiritual than just the next thing in my inbox. I noticed nature and felt more connected. I walked past some litter. This time I had time to do something about it. I placed it in the nearest recycling bin. I was taking care of what takes of me.

When we take time to reconnect with nature we notice more. And in noticing we can make changes to help our home become a better home. This week take time to reconnect with the natural.

Notes:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/theres-a-danger-of-losing-our-tenure-on-this-plane/p06yyqvc

[2] Ibid

[Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ on Unsplash]

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