Image via Thomas Lefebvre, Unsplash.com

Nature Isn’t Something You “Go To”

Reframing how we see “Nature” is going to take some work.


“TEN REASONS TO ESCAPE TO NATURE”

“GET BACK TO NATURE THIS WEEKEND!”

“25 INSPIRING NATURE QUOTES TO MAKE YOU WANT TO GO OUTSIDE AND EXPLORE NATURE”

“It’s time to get out in nature and explore the places you are helping protect.”

The implication, of course, is that Nature is something Other, something we don’t participate in unless we GO to it. This isn’t, however, the case. We absolutely NEED to see NATURE as something in which we already participate.

Same shit, different biosystems, all Nature. Images via Unsplash.com

Nature isn’t just a collection of biosystems outside of your house; it’s a process in which entities participate.

Nature is an “exchange of goods and services” via a network of nodes and connections.

Saying “Escape to Nature” is meaningless. It’s like telling an octopus to “Escape to the Sea,” or a bear to “Escape to the Forest.” It’s like telling a variable to “Escape to an Algorithm.”

You don’t need a tent or hiking boots or a long drive to the “middle of nowhere” to experience Nature; the fact is, you can’t NOT experience Nature.

What does this mean, exactly? It means there is no “Wild” versus “Urban.”

It means that the value of entities isn’t in the entities themselves, but in the connections and exchanges between them. The better the connections and exchanges of mutually beneficial services in a system, the more value that system has. Valuable Systems — be they forests, cities, workplaces, rivers, the ‘soil food web’ — consist of entities working together to benefit all of the individual parts of the system.

Images via Unsplash.com

Taking Nature out of the equation by separating it, framing it as something to “visit,” collapses the value function of the System called “Life on Earth.”

Understanding “Nature” as something in which we participate, not as an “Other,” is a kind of “gnosis” — a revelatory event that changes the way you see and interact with the world.