Nature Connection
My Issue with Nature Connection

My Issue with Nature Connection

I have always had a fascination with language. It is a window on culture and mindset, giving insight into the way the world is viewed. It can also open your eyes and signpost you to experiencing the world in a different way. Appreciating and exploring (with permission) the languages of other cultures is a delight I highly recommend. It helps to build relationships, and it shows you things you may not have seen without the words. Indeed, research into people’s perceptions of colours suggests that they did not perceive differing shades or differing colours where they did not have a word to describe them. For example, they might see a green object and a blue one as both being green because they did not have a word for blue or they might see two objects of differing shades of blue as being identical. There’s an interesting article on this here.

Perhaps it is unsurprising that our language when it comes to Nature is problematic, at least in the English-speaking world. My problem with the concept of “Nature connection” is that it suggests that we are not already connected to wider Nature. Actually, it implies that we are separate from Nature, rather than reflecting that we are Nature. Don’t get me wrong. “Nature connection” is my soul work. I believe that it is critical to helping Human wellbeing and to tackling the Nature and climate emergencies. But we need to go beyond the idea of it being something we do and into remembering that it is something that we are. For now, I will have to meet people where they are, but I really hope that you don’t get stuck at “Nature Connection – the activity” and get into the sequel – “We are Nature.”

In many ways, words always separate us. Our labels point to our differences – “that and not this,” “them or us.” We need a new way of understanding the world and pointing to our experiences. We need to go beyond the words and to recognise that they are just a starting point, a story that points to a deeper truth. We need to learn to trust our experience beyond the words, more than the words themselves. And yes, I do very much appreciate the irony of my use of words to convey this!

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