I strongly believe that the natural world has a value more significant than that which any human could ascribe to it. Unfortunately, in our society we have a tendency to place monetary value on anything and everything, from man-made products to the environment (recently a field known as ‘ecological economics’ has emerged) to arbitrary measurements such as time.  We are culturally conditioned to value on humans above all else, and the importance we place on anything else is relative to their instrumental value to humans. This anthropocentric perspective of Western society differs from that of most indigenous societies, who recognize the power of the natural world and respect the right of nature to exist independently of human thought and activity.

Human beings belong to nature. It is the land that feeds us, gives us the nutrients necessary to survive, and influences our lives and it is to the land we return when we die. Nature does not “belong” to us. The world existed before modern man arrived, and will continue to exist afterwards assuming we don’t develop the technology to survive indefinitely in space. Even if we succeed in making the planet inhabitable for ourselves (which we are well on our way towards achieving) other organisms will survive, adapt, and reproduce. This world has evolved over billions of years, and created organisms that in turn create the earth. It is part of a cycle of which we are part, not above. The natural world, though we strive to make it so, is not irrelevent to us.

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