It's safe to say that humans are a powerful force on the Earth. We've stretched our influence far and wide, both in our own social structures and the physical ones we've built atop the natural world. It can be difficult to remember that we're a part of this massive planetary balancing act of systems since we seemingly bend them to our will, but it would be ill-conceived to think of that influence as control.
Beyond that influence, I was reminded this month of a bias humanity has. We tend to like the concept of an "untouched" nature. Not untouched by anything though, but humans in particular. Going even further, we're biased toward an appreciation of nature not touched by the people who brought modern civilization. It's easiest to think of these people as the European colonizers. If they or their descendants haven't touched it, it's considered untouched by humans.
Along with this bias comes another more dangerous one however. When we categorize nature by its proximity to humans, deciding that nature adjacent to humanity is lesser nature, we have a tendency to take less care of it. We opt to care more about "true nature" far from home. We can think that's the nature worth saving, worth protecting. Yet, by ignoring our neighboring ecosystems, we have a slow but steady impact on nature far away.
Let's explore this together.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a garden. What do you see?
Are you surrounded by towering trees, light peering through the canopy as shadows of leaves dance at your feet? Are you under a solitary sycamore, grasses swaying in the breeze as clouds race overhead? Perhaps you are upon a porch overlooking a vast collection of flowers on a light rainy day.
Are you sitting, head level with your surroundings? Maybe you're standing to see as far as you possibly can. Or perhaps you're lying on your back, viewing the world from the perspective of the plants themselves.
But most importantly, how do you feel?
Humans have quite a history with gardens and how they can act as a connection to the world around them. How a garden makes one feel is an integral part of why people take the time to work and maintain these spaces. While reading, I found that even though humanity's collective approach to gardening does change with time and culture, there is an underlying theme to our desire to garden.
Let's take a little journey together and rediscover the garden.
Prismatic Planet wants to get excited for the planet, raise awareness of its inhabitants, and get smarter about Earth.