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7. Humans need to reconnect as part of nature.

Homo sapiens sapiens is the name science gives to our currently evolved modern human being.[56] We are a species whose evolutionary history evidences much hubris (pride), for we seem to admire ourselves and our perceived abilities. Yet, as we briefly discussed earlier through scientific evidence, ours is the sole species on Earth that is increasingly becoming a cause of so many problems for the rest of the planet’s diverse life forms. So while admired by ourselves, we are to be feared by many other species on Earth. However, we now should seriously begin fearing our collective human selves for the very threat we are posing to Earth’s environmental integrity.

In our constructed cities, humans have come to believe we are safely tucked away from a “wild nature” that is seen as being “out there” and away from us. In these urban cocoons, humans have come to create an artificial environment that gives us the appearance of our being separate from our Earth’s natural habitat.

Palenque, Chiapas: downtown.

Yet what happens when any other animal is taken out of its natural habitat and put to live in a zoo (or cities, the name we give to human zoos)? As human beings, we can see with our own eyes that animals react in different ways depending on the habitat where they live and the influences surrounding them. In many cities, dogs chase cars and cats chase geckos instead of the historical prey they would chase if they were living in the wilds of nature. City raised cockroaches are seen to eat Styrofoam cups instead of natural growth. Birds dependently peck at the seeds in bird feeders provided by humans over independently eating the berries of wild bushes.

And in what ways would humans even care to admit that we have adapted our lives to the lifestyles of our admired modern cities? We have built lives around cars and other human created ideas such as economy, money, career, suburb, consumerism, fashion, recreational drug use, and in very many other countless ways. This is in addition to the urban congestion, the smog and other human-caused pollutions, the piling garbage, and the crime that are uncomfortable daily aspects of urban life: all of which are clearly on display in cities such as Mexico City (D.F.).

It is not that we are seeking a return to a traditional rural lifestyle or any equally unreal sense that rural life is inherently better than city life. We only emphasise that, unlike rural living where Earth’s nature is seen at your very doorstep, city life creates the illusion for humans that they are separate, distinct and even apart from nature.

A residential neighbourhood in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Many humans seem to have lost any real connexion with the natural environment they see as existing outside of their cities and towns. This has served to result in many humans no longer fully comprehending that our cities and towns actually exist within and as an integral part of an area’s natural environment. And equally as important, that our cities depend on Earth’s local eco-systems and even on the planet’s one global environment for our very lives. For it is the nature we see as being outside of our cities that still provides humans with our very food and water for life, and all our resources for our tortillas, coca-cola, clothing, shoes, glass, homes, cars, buses, concrete blocks, televisions, i-pods, computers, cell-phones and literally everything else we use.

Sustainable development has helped us understand the importance to humans of keeping connected with nature and Earth’s own unique rhythms: a natural beat that is independent of and yet directly connected to human dynamics.

Metaphorically speaking, we think humanities’ connexion with nature should be similar to that of a boat captain who, to be successful in her trade, must learn to work with natural water currents. Or like birds that must learn to manouvre nature’s wind currents in order to successfully fly.

Simply stated, we think our species would collectively thrive with less environmental degradation and fewer societal challenges (including social and economic inequities), should we learn to live and work within nature’s own rhythms and cycles.

Sustainable development is as much about how humans construct their societies as it is about the natural environment. We think that if humans constructed our societies to reconnect our species as an integral part of Earth’s one environment, then an inevitable consequence of this action would be sustainably vibrant cities, towns and neighbourhoods. For through such a reconnection by human beings, our human communities would then be, by necessity, always acting in support of a cleaner and healthier natural environment.

[56] Nature’s Holism. (2008). Homo sapiens sapiens: the true, modern man [online]. Available from: http://www.ecotao.com/holism/hu_sap.htm . [Accessed: 03 May 2008].
O’Neil, Dennis. (2007). Early Modern Homo sapiens [online]. Available from: http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_4.htm . [Accessed: 03 May 2008].

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