We talk of “Nature” as though it exists, but it doesn’t. It’s a fiction brought into being by human conversation, a figment of the human collective consciousness. There is no “Nature”, only the totality, the cosmos. What happens on Ganymede or on Mercury or on some anonymous and unidentified lump of ice out in the Oort Cloud or on a White Dwarf in some distant galaxy is every bit as natural as what happens in the Amazon Jungle or as Schipol Airport.
“Perhaps even more so,” it is tempting to say, since that would sharpen the point that humans have been tampering with the Amazon Jungle ever since our ancestors first arrived there, but it is not “even more so”. To speak of “Nature” is to speak of the rest of the cosmos as something outside of ourselves, as though we are separate from the rest of Everything, aloof, a separate order of thing.
“Nature” — the World, the Universe — has no boundaries, no limits. Not even internal ones. It is only our own vision, our own understanding that is defective in this. Mistaken. A delusion brought on by our own inflated sense of self-importance, by ego. By fear. Fear that we’re unimportant. Fear that the Cosmos might carry on just as well without us. Fear of Death.
Reality bears no relation to our inner monologue.
There are some people so deeply fearful of the end of their own consciousness that they come to believe they can warp reality, that they can shape the world merely by telling themselves a different story, and if their story is sufficiently compelling, then, Why! The world must really be so.
And yet reality is indifferent.
We are the world. (Sing it, babe!) Without barriers or separation from everything else in existence. We are every bit as natural as the ice-seas of Europa or the volcanoes of Io. A concrete-and-glass monstrosity in London or a mud-and-dung Rondawel in Lesotho is every bit as natural as a mound built by termites. And the termite nest in the walls of our house has as much right to existence as the house itself. Nature has no boundaries, least of all our own skin or the fringes of our deranged imaginings.
Some take this to mean we can do anything to the “natural” world — the world as we found it before we came along — that pleases us, that we may, as we desire, extract the planet’s minerals, foul its rivers, seas and air, kill the other organisms in the biosphere for our own convenience, destroy soils with ploughs and chemistry and tinker with the very strands of life in the name of profit.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
There are no barriers, no boundaries, no borders. We are “nature” and nature is all of everything including our selves.
When we poison a stream, we poison our own bodies.
When we destroy any other organism, we destroy a part of the web of all living things we call “ecosphere” and so weaken our own selves, damage our own health and wellbeing. This is not some mystical woozhie moozhie lah lah woo woo. This is simply physics. We are entirely co-dependent upon all other life forms from the enormously populous single-celled to the fury and fungi and fritillary. When we sever a link in the web, we sever a support that props up our own existence just as surely as if we chopped off an arm or a leg or a head. Because we’re not very bright, we might not see or feel the effect immediately: some of the feedback loops are quite slow and very long, longer than the span of a single human memory, so we stupidly believe we’ve not caused harm to ourselves. We tell ourselves that the story is just the way we want it to be, that the world is Just So.
But reality doesn’t care about our delusions or inner fantasies.
There is no “Nature”. Only nurture.
There is no Justice. There’s just us. All of us. All of the cosmos.