The Problem With Loving Nature

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I always appreciate a chance to refine my thinking in areas where I have a lot of strong opinions, and the confluence of spirituality, nature, and politics is one such place. Reading Bron Taylor’s excellent new book, Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future, has given me that chance.

I read most of this book while in British Columbia, teaching a group of 90+ people at a Reclaiming camp, the theme of which included “listening to the land, to sense the coming shift.” In spite of my misgivings about the theme, I thoroughly enjoyed the camp and the friends I was teaching with, and in our planning process we had several lively discussions that helped me refine even further my thoughts on the issues raised in Dark Green Religion.

As soon as I got back from all that travel I interviewed Bron on Dream Talk Radio, so I pretty much unloaded onto him all the thoughts I’d had throughout the previous week. Whether you have read the book or not, I would love to hear your comments about our discussion, so without further ado here is the podcast.

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3 thoughts on “The Problem With Loving Nature

  1. Henry Buchy

    Hiya Anne,
    Great topic. One of the thing that troubled me the most is the idea about our not being exceptional in regards to other species. I think taking this perception is counterproductive as it were. This isn’t to say that there isn’t an arrogance in regards to this concept.The fact that we are exceptional is really what will work to conserve the planet, our exceptionality should foster a more responsible attitude.
    I agree with Bron that we are subject to natural law as any other species but unlike any other species we have the ability, creativity and adaptability to recognise these laws and work with them as it were. We also have the ability to prognosticate, something really no other species can do.
    Extinctions happened long before humanity developed. if i remember rightly more species have become extinct before we walked the earth than since, as we’ve only existed for an eyeblink as far as geological time goes. The quick and simple reason is failure to adapt or modify ones environment in accordance to natural laws. Rabbits cannot compute the yield per hectare and so can neither adjust their population or increase that yield, and so they overpopulate to an extent that their numbers far exceed the ability of their environment to support it, and so natures law exacts its toll. Of course this too is an over simplification. Collectively we’ve learned these laws over the millenia of our existence.
    Of course I would agree we haven’t applied this intelligence and so have left ourselves open to being just as vulnerable to nature law as other species. In a way we are the manifestation of the ‘intelligence” of the planet. We are living breathing thinking feeling ‘matter’. if it were not so we wouldn’t be thinking about the state of the world and how to remedy it. So I think we should embrace the idea that we are exceptional and the responsibility that that exceptionality entails. There’s alot more of course in regards to our culture and political arenas, but really that hasn’t changed much, that where our ‘evolution’ needs to catch up.
    Blessings and Love
    Henry

  2. Hecate

    Just got it and am starting it. When I open up the front page and find all the testimonials from men, well, let’s just say that we’re not off to an auspicious start.

  3. Wes Isley

    I like how this guy thinks! I haven’t read the book, but it’s now on my list. I, too, have been frustrated by the general lack of critical thinking among some pagans, as if nature is just fairy dust and butterflies. And many of us are still stuck in that “fall from paradise” myth. There’s so much here that I want to explore, and I know that I still have to rid myself of my own attachments to myth and naive thinking. Thanks for the interview!

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