In nature we are not alone

Our bodies are made of the same biological elements as all other life forms existing on Earth. We come from Nature and go back to Nature. This is not a religious statement, nor is it contrary to religion. It is simply a fact, nature is our home. All those who spend time in nature know this to be true. It is where we find peace of mind and become whole again.

We are not the only sentient life on this planet, all life is sentient. Nor are we the only species with language, emotions and a sense of humour. Science is re-discovering what most indigenous peoples have known for millennia and this is that animals and plants have their way of communicating and that it is based on the chemistry of life, just like ours. Other species feel pain and pleasure, experience suffering and happiness as well.

Image of an orangutan in a Borneo jungle extending an arm to help a human out of the water - in nature we are not alone

A wild orangutan in Borneo offers a man a helping hand – in nature we are not alone

Animals and trees care for their offspring, have societal norms and collaborate to thrive and survive. We are not so different, just another variation on the theme. We are mammals, so It is easier for us to relate to other mammals as they also are warm blooded, give birth to live young ones and have mammary glands. However, our connection to life on Earth goes far beyond this. We are a part of, and intricately connected within, the web of life, the planetary ecosystems that we call the biosphere.

Other biological life also has intelligence and most importantly, just like us, seeks to be safe and to avoid suffering.

I think we can agree that we were born into a good situation and are in good company. Knowing all this it is difficult to comprehend why we humans behave the way we do. For tens of thousands of years we have killed, plundered and left devastation in our wake. We are singlehandedly driving the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, exterminating nature both on land and in the oceans. We say that we believe in compassionate and wise Gods and yet day-in-day-out we slave for the god of economic growth, overexploiting the Earth’s resources and bringing the end of days closer and closer to our grandchildren’s future.

Intellectual complexity and obsessions have been mistaken for intelligence. We have created weapons of mass destruction that could destroy life on Earth many times over – unbelievably insane.

Image of a man taking two koalas to safety from the flood water in Australia - in nature we are note alone

Man saving Koalas from torrential floods in Australia – in nature we are not alone

Plastics are toxic and a problem and the industry is investing in infrastructure to produce larger quantities; in 2015 governments agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and since then year-on-year emissions are increasing; politicians talk about Green Deals while bank financing and government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry continue to flow; we allow legal overfishing and the illegal pillaging and polluting of our oceans with impunity while the truth is that the oceans will be mostly dead and empty by 2050; we continue to wage wars and to support dictators, making the rich richer and the poor poorer; we talk of peace whilst manufacturing armaments; we look for life on Mars while we kill the only other life forms we know of on this planet; law enforcement is strong with the weak, weak with the strong and non-existent when it comes to the protection of the natural world.

Humanity was born into a temperate and welcoming planet and we are not alone. However, we soon will be if we do nothing or not enough to stop this madness. It does not have to be this way. We can turn this thing around in the next ten years if we all get involved and start right now.

Published in the Senior Times of the Times of Malta on the 21st February 2020