Nature’s Wonders – Amazonian Butterflies Drinking Turtle Tears
“I wish to supplement the warranted assertion that our experience of non-human nature is largely constructed by human culture, with an acknowledgement that human culture is itself structured and informed, in diverse ways, by the wider-than-human matrix of powers in which it is embedded. While our notions of the world may be structured by our particular culture, cultures are themselves structured by the interplay of gravity, winds, waters, and sunlight, by the migratory movements of various animals and the nutritional and medicinal powers of particular plants. Human culture, that is, is itself influenced, organized and mediated by many agencies that are not human or of human artifice.”
— David Abram
“It seems to me that those of us who work to preserve wild nature must work as well for a return to our senses, and for a renewed respect for sensorial modes of knowing. For the senses are our most immediate access to the more-than-human natural world. The eyes, the ears, the nostrils catching faint whiffs of sea-salt on the breeze, the fingertips grazing the smooth bark of a madrone, this porous skin rippling with chills at the felt presence of another animal — our bodily senses bring us into relation with the breathing earth at every moment. If humankind seems to have forgotten its thorough dependence upon the earthly community of beings, it can only be because we’ve forgotten (or dismissed as irrelevant) the sensory dimension of our lives.”
— David Abram
“Our concept of nature as a symbol of virtue results in an incredible overemphasis on what individuals can personally, virtuously, do to ‘save’ it. This, unfortunately, comes at the expense of focusing on systematic changes. We can see it play out in the public conversation, the vitriol of the political spat, right down to neighborly tensions over SUVs versus Priuses.
Conceptual metaphors in language unrelated to nature also shape our actions. Think about the dominant conceptual metaphor: ‘Change is motion.’ We speak of climate change as ‘speeding up,’ having ‘momentum,’ and are even so bold as to suggest the goal is to ‘stop’ climate change. For substantial natural changes a big rolling boulder comes to mind. Our general call for mass behaviour change is, in a way, an organizational principle that is a natural entailment of this metaphor. We can conceive of ’stopping’ climate change because we can imagine the boulder coming to rest.
The truth, I daresay, is more complex — a bit more sobering, too. A better metaphor might be a big wave.”
— Carter Brooks
“Human and animal communication creates a valuable bridge between human and non-human animals. By connecting with our intuition, we can engage in meaningful dialogue and remember how to hear the subtle messages from those whose space we share in our lives and our natural environment. Coming from a place of respect and reverence for all life, we can learn to understand our wilder relatives, honour their truths and live in greater harmony.”
— Anna Breytenbach
“The human soul is complex. So is Nature (or life, if you prefer). Creating a perfect interface between the two results in a balance that one can recognize in an individual as a state of grace.”
― Darrell Calkins