Monday, June 11, 2012

Nature From Within

Humans are part of nature. Whether you live in a densely populated city or on a rural farm, you live in an ecosystem that consumes natural resources and supports many organisms, both plant and animal. We cannot escape this fact, whether we acknowledge it or not. In fact humans create many unnecessary problems when we do not recognize the consequences of our actions to the environment around us.

The blinding and isolating effects of "modern" society allow humans to pretend to live outside of nature in our artificial environments. We go to great lengths quite often to isolate ourselves from the world in which we live. Just look at our sealed and air conditioned homes and cars. Cellophane wrapped, boxed, frozen, freeze dried, vacuum packed food. Earbuds, "smart" phones, iPads, wall-sized TVs and other stimulation prosthetics.

We cause the most harm to the natural environment in which we all live through our own ignorance of the debilitating consequences of our activities. What was the complete effect on the environment caused by the purchase of that chicken sandwich you had for lunch? From building and operating the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) that houses 100,000+ chickens under one roof from where your chicken breast was raised. To the effect of growing the grain the chicken was feed and the water that was pumped for it to drink to the waste it excreted during its short life. How about the processing plant where it was slaughtered, butchered and packaged? How about all the diesel fuel that was burned to ship and distribute the fertilizer, pesticide and seed to grow the grain and the grain itself? How about to ship the packaged chicken to the fast food distribution center and finally to the chain restaurant where you bought it? What are the effects on the environment for all the packaging both of the chicken feed, the antibiotics it was feed, the boxes in which the packaged chicken was shipped and finally all the packaging for everything else in your sandwich like the bun, the condiments, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

And that is just for one chicken sandwich. Every single activity in which we participate every single day of our lives has direct, yet sometimes very hidden impacts on the environment from which we cannot escape no matter how hard we try. The more we pretend that we live outside of nature, instead of within it, the more harm we do to it and ultimately to ourselves.