As we leave the hot summer months and head into a stormy and cooler autumn in the most turbulent year that I have ever lived in, the need for connection with Nature could not be stronger yet humanity’s willingness to do so grows weaker by the day.
Coronavirus infections are on the rise again in the UK it feels like there is a real division in life. Younger people seem less concerned and us slightly older folk are a little more wary – obviously this is a generalisation. But as coronavirus is more harmful to older people, that is not surprising.
Nature is not vindictive, it is just practical. Every so often a new disease appears that kills off weaker, older people. This is the way of Nature. The stronger people survive and develop immunity until they grow old and a new disease takes them.
We are the apex predators on the Earth, allegedly, but even we have to die. We may think our position is above Nature, that we have dominion over it as some religions might suggest, but in truth we are part of Nature and it had a role in maintaining balance on Earth.
Maintaining balance has been difficult for Nature in recent centuries. Our discovery of energy sources has seen a rapid rise in power and technology but also in resource depletion and pollution. But Nature needs to restore balance and pandemics are one way of doing this, although not the only way. There are Limits to Growth as the Club of Rome explained prophetically in 1970.
Humans have a responsibility to Nature but we have ignored that and claimed rights instead. That separation of rights from responsibilities is evident in so many areas of society but is one of the biggest failings of modern times.
Responsibility needs to take centre stage now if we are to avoid further chaos, bit we also need to learn to deal with the encroaching storm. There is much to learn.
We are going to need to deal with bereavement at a variety of levels. Not just the impact of the deaths of friends and relatives from Covid but from the wider changes that humanity either brings in voluntarily or the Nature will impose on us.
It is that latter aspect of bereavement that will become increasingly important over the next few decades. Learning to cope with less. Learning to pollution less. As JMG has said many times, the future is LESS: Less Energy, Stuff and Stimulation.
It is time for LESS if we are to work practically with Nature rather than simply letting Nature sort out our mess.
Just a reminder of the current trajectory, this is the BAU scenario from Limits to Growth: