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People and Nature – Opening Our Eyes to The Possibilities

People and Nature

By Annette J Beveridge

Annette J BeveridgePeople and nature – we are an intrinsic part of the natural world and yet, are so far removed from it. When we disconnect from the natural world, we risk the very foundation of life on this planet. Scientists have warned us for years that climate change was a very real threat and yet, many took the blinkered approach to change, and here we are. If we take the HS2 project alone, we can see a perfect example of where the divide exists – it is about so-called progress and about improving travel, freight, and creating financial wealth. All this is discussed in great detail.  However, throughout these discussions, there was very little mention of the true cost – which is to the environment and our natural world.

Why this divide?  

The reality is that there is always a bigger picture, we might not like it, but it exists. Environmentalists and I include myself in this, focus much on the detrimental impact on nature. We are the defenders of the wild and provide a voice to help others understand the implications of our actions. This may be on a small or large scale.  But there are many others who are vying for the other side of the coin – that of financial growth, the economy, jobs and so on and yes, these are important. But we must not lose that precious balance in life. To make a significant issue, we must have a government that leads with a passion and who will face issues by looking at both sides of the coin.  

Our own Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said, ‘We must reverse the appalling loss of habitats and species, it is only by repairing the damage to the natural world that we can address the problems of climate change.

So, two arguments and opposing opinions, and in this day and age, progress has assumed the shape of the new High-Speed Rail service despite the positive language used by the Prime Minister. This brings the reality that lip service is not enough.

 

 

People and nature

The HS2 project is going ahead regardless of the catastrophic impact of doing so. But let’s take a brief look at how detrimental it will be. In the first phase of this project, the destruction of 34 ancient woodlands. When phase one and two occur, a total of 108 ancient woodlands will be decimated. As there is only 2% ancient woodland left across the UK, we can see just how very short-sighted we are.

The destruction of ancient woodland is final. It cannot be replaced, even if new trees are planted although, this will help harbour some creatures. It is not the solution. The solution is to avoid the destruction of the woodlands in the first instance and instead, to realise that we do not have the right to be such a destructive force. It has been deemed that creating corridors of natural land, joining up these essential areas of ecosystems is vital, this project restricts this further.

 What price can be placed upon such woodland?

We have all spent time in forests, in nature reserves or by rivers, and have enjoyed a variety of habitats, yet, many people do not understand the absolute importance of these ecosystems. Far from being nice to visit, they are just as important for our own health and wellbeing and for our survival too. If we are going to combat the very real threat to climate change and pollution, we must realise that trees store carbon. They also enable a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. We worry about respiratory problems but having more trees helps to absorb pollutants – not just from the air, but from water too. Trees reduce flooding. 

 People and nature – we disconnect at our peril

There is another reason for this disconnect from nature, we live sterile lives. We may have parks in cities and natural spaces outside of these areas but go to any city and we are immediately engulfed in a concrete jungle. We create a sterile world in which we live for much of the time. This is not living naturally. We do not follow our circadian rhythms. Life is processed, neatly packaged, and disposable. This is true in all areas of life. Many people have lost that connection to nature and lost an instinctive approach to life. We do not care that trees are being felled. We do not worry that species around us are under threat but moan about climate change without doing enough to stop it. But that can change.

What can you do?

You have a voice. Understand the issues facing wildlife and shout very loudly about the injustices that are taking place. Being informed enables you to educate others. Deep within, humans have the capacity to have real integrity and values and to be creative and compassionate. We can make changes on any scale. Every little thing you do will make a difference. If you have a garden, make it inviting for nature. Not only does this benefit the birds, mammals, and insects, but it will be therapeutic for your own health. Grow your own vegetables and fruits. You can ensure that no pesticides are used which again, boosts health as well as being kind to nature. Equally, start to recycle or reuse products being mindful of your impact on the planet.

Plant trees and wildflowers and open your mind to the positive attributes of nature. This is not to exploit it, but so to relish it. When we reconnect to nature, we gain as much as the plants, trees, and wildlife. People and nature are one and the same, we just have to realise this. When we disconnect from the natural world, we injure ourselves, when we reconnect, we all benefit. Time is running out.

If you want to do more, join your local RSPB groups, become a member of The Wildlife Trusts and volunteer. Join Friends of the Earth or set up local community groups so to improve nature in your local areas. Lobby your local MP and discuss what your local council is doing for the green issues around you. Everything you do for nature will benefit your life, your health, and wellbeing, and our precious landscape and all the wonderful species will thrive. We have to learn to co-exist and not bend the world to our greedy desires.

Annette J Beveridge is an author, editor, and freelance writer specialising in health and environmental articles. Passionate about the written word, Annette set up creative1publishing in 2007 to help authors to achieve their publishing goals. She has spent the last 10 years travelling throughout Europe with her trusty laptop and has now returned (perhaps, permanently) to the UK.

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