Blog Action Day

Posted on October 16, 2007

Today’s entry is dedicated to environmental appreciation.

In the early ages of man, the earth was wild, cold, and full of danger. We have waged war on the unruly forces of nature for thousands of years. Compared to our savage upbringings, we live now in an unimaginable paradise of warmth, comfort and plenty. A few isolated families scattered over a wide dark land now find themselves amongst a crowd of constant companionship and entertainments. So far we have come.

We have laid low mountains, dammed rivers, harnessed the atom. Nothing can withstand us. Yet with our great advances, we’ve lost many of the empty spaces in our world. Most is paved, groomed and domesticated. So much so that few of us could live without civilization. We could not feed or shelter ourselves, or find our way through a wild land. Our very souls are tamed by the comfort and convenience of modern life.
That is why I value what wilderness and open spaces we have left. Walking amongst the mountains and woods of nature is a breath-taking experience of the natural beauty and majesty of creation, so absent from our everyday modern reality.

It’s an opportunity to recapture the simple joy of challenging ourselves against primal forces. Hiking long distances, climbing, finding food, making fire and shelter. Having to rely on your own problem-solving abilities and carry your own water. Can we claim to be human without doing these things?

Every year I take my family on a pilgrimage to the woods. Every time there are aches and pains, cold mornings, and often rain. And yet it’s always the best week of the year.

In the struggle against nature, we have defined ourselves. Now that we are victorious, we have the luxury to choose how we relate to nature. I’m grateful that we have chosen to preserve at least some of it, and hopeful that we will be good stewards to what is left of this crucible of humanity. We have enough pavement.

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