To value nature, is in our very nature.
The primary focus of this blog is to consider environmental issues from an ‘exoteric’ point if view, in the sense that it discuses how the environment relates to other pertinent and practical issues in our lives, considers these interconnections, and explores the often mutual and aligned co-benefits that they have with one another.
However, in addition to this, there are some specific aspects of the environment that seem to offer an inherent value in their own right- and can have strong emotional affects and visceral impacts on us. As such these effects, as they connect with our emotions and inner feelings, could be termed as ‘esoteric’ benefits of the environment. The beauty and majesty of nature and the environment has been the fundamental inspiration for so much of humanity’s cultural output throughout history- in art, design, photography, literature, music, dance, film, fashion, architecture… (an example being the attached video to this post- scenes from the BBC’s stunning, and hugely popular, ‘Planet Earth’). (On a side note, you could say, that these esoteric influences of the environment are at the root of consequential exoteric effects- in that they manifest themselves in the form of cultural outputs…)
The term Biophilia (literally the ‘love of life/ living things’) has been coined, and utilised, by a number of authors in the field- and is an interesting concept. It supports the view that there is an intrinsic connection between, and appreciation for, the environment and nature inherent to the human psyche- and would explain the emotional attachment we have to the environment and nature, and why it is such a source of inspiration for our cultural creations.
One of my favourite websites/projects that promotes the beauty of the environment, and its value to society, is ‘2020vision for a wilder Britain’. It is a project that is developing a fantastic set of visual images and other multimedia to record and convey the beauty of nature- with the overarching aim ‘to communicate the link between the restoration of the UK’s natural systems and our own well being’. I really recommend a look at the portfolios of some of the contributors. Furthermore, the collection of images from the 2020vision project are part of the fantastic Nature Picture Library- which contains a vast collection of stunning images related to the environment and nature.
If we truly appreciate the beauty and worth of the environment, and accept that has an intrinsic and emotional significance and value that is inherent to our very nature, shouldn’t we strive to ensure it is sustained for the future? In the same way we vociferously preserve and protect much of our material and built heritage- taking precautions and safeguards to ensure they are conserved in the long term- shouldn’t we do the same, if not more, with our natural heritage? Surely it would be a hugely shameful act of selfishness, considering that we are now aware of the degradative impacts our lifestyles are having on the global environment, if we were not take the necessary steps and precautions to protect and preserve as much of our environment as possible- and ultimately deny our children, and children’s children, the opportunity to appreciate what is a fundamental for the human soul- appreciating the value of nature.