Thursday, February 29, 2024
Nature is around us all the time (Image: Patrick Regnault)
Environment

Au Naturel

By Patrick Regnault

Humans and nature are a paradox. On one hand we talk of a need to find our place in nature but on the other we  separate ourselves from it. Can we be of nature and distinct at the same time? The connection with nature is a myth if we cannot accept that we are an integral part of it. When we separate, we become ungrounded and start making decisions based on ideas, or worse, ideology.

Planting trees in cities is not a bad idea. It helps reduce heat but a tree is not its shadow. A tree is a large organism that has its own set of requirements, most of which we may not fully understand. A tree has a root system that, if it is not allowed to develop, will reduce its health and longevity. We can plant as many trees or shrubs as we want but if we do not ‘grow’ them it is no more than feel-good tokenism. More vegetation is essential but a park, nature does not make.

Nature has a positive impact on us (Image: Karen Smith)
Nature has a positive impact on us (Image: Karen Smith)

Perhaps we should define nature before we talk about it, but defining nature is very hard. Its vastness and complexity, the organisms’ interactions with each other, or even within the organism, and its environment makes it near impossible to truly understand it. Humans have found a way to cope with this by simplifying, deifying or ignoring. We anthropomorphise nature, often unconsciously, as a way to cope with our place in it and our desire to place ourselves outside of it, to be in control.

Nature is in us and all around us all the time. Looking for nature outside of ourselves is disassociating from it and from our true self. Nature is in a constant state of change, never static. It is dynamic and within that dynamism is a fully contained core of immense possibility.

At a subatomic level there is no difference between us and anything else in nature. Furthermore, we are constantly exchanging atoms with our surrounds and within a year over 90% of our atoms have been replaced, constantly changing, brimming with fresh possibility.

Our desire to go back to nature is an illusion. How can we go back to something we never left? When we have that deep realisation of non-duality, we can never feel disconnected, we are whole. It is only when we cut ourselves off from that interconnection that we feel disengaged with what we then call nature.

When we embody that natural interconnection we rediscover the depth of our senses, and a clearer mind. We can reside in the full understanding of our surroundings without judgement or comparison.

We can, and we need to, design biophilic buildings, put more greenery in schools, design better blue/green infrastructure and design for wildlife. We must protect what we have left and extend it, but what we need, to really make a difference and provide a better future for future generations, is to educate and empower people to be the embodiment of their true nature that is forever changing, brimming with opportunities and to be an individual expression of a whole.

Patrick Regnault FAIH RH0062

Interactive Landscapes

E: patrickregnault@hotmail.com

Main photo: Nature is around us all the time (Image: Patrick Regnault)

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