Honouring Nature – A Take on Climate Change
By Mady Frellick
In reflection of Christine Jurzykowski essay, “Dance with Giraffes”
Every life on earth is represented by an unavoidable fact. There is no opposition in the truth that life on earth is binary; we live, and we die. The only thing separating these two things is the earth, so why are we treating it so badly? Global warming rates are at an all time high, glaciers are melting, deforestation is depleting our forests, and human greed is higher than ever. In the essay “Dance with Giraffes”, Christine Jurzykowski tells her personal story in connection to nature, animals, and a dying giraffe named “Old Nick”. She touches deeply on how our connection to nature is a direct reflection on how we treat it. It’s no secret that modern civilization has slowly removed us from our natural surroundings, but as we see levels of technology and infrastructure go up, we also see climate change and violence rates rise as well. How much farther can we distance ourselves from nature before we reach the tipping point? There are many factors that play into this complex issue, but it all concludes to our relationship with nature and how it affects our relationships within ourselves, and the world we live in.
In the western world, we are constantly surrounded by smartphones and other technology which separates us from the natural life around us. Christine Jurzykowski begins her essay with sharing her personal connection to nature, and the importance to be aware and mindful of our natural roots. This is evident in the line about her everlasting connection to animals “The universal dance of form and relationship—creation and destruction, of which we are all a part” which proves her evident acknowledgment of the world around her. This excerpt from the text gives example that our connection to nature is a direct reflection to how we think and treat others. Due to the rising popularity in technology and the ability to zone out from the real world, we are slowly losing our connection to our surroundings, and that has a direct impact on how we treat and appreciate others and the earth. If we can’t be connected with where we live, than abuse of the land continues through consumerism, simply because we cannot respect what we do not know.
Respect plays a key role in our cycle of life. If you spend all of your life throwing fast food trash out your car window, chances are you probably don’t respect nature. The same examples of ignorance show up on an international level, such as carbon emissions or deforestation. If we can’t respect the earth we live on, than where do we earn the right to inhabit it? Jurzykowski reflects on this matter in beautiful words during Old Nick’s death… “We are members of the web of relationships that includes all living things. How we honour these relationships is ultimately how we honour these relationships within ourselves”. If this is true, then there is every reason to believe that humans do not honour any relationships, and our connections between individuals and others is simply disposable.
So where do we go from here? How do we reverse the effects causing such a distance between worlds? First we have to start with what we surround ourselves with. Who we are, and what we think is a direct response of what we know. To respect the earth and honour it, we must first understand it ourselves. Once we gain knowledge of who we are and what role we play in the cycle of life, change will come to how we treat the earth and the inhabitants on it. Christine Jurzykowski sums up this concept beautifully in just a few sentences “If we are willing to be still and become aware of what we are truly made of—energy and matter—we may experience the connection to the living system called nature. In the awakening of our own cellular memories, we may remember the way we evolved in harmony with each other within the cycles of life, the nature of nature.” In other words… go for a walk, ride your bike to work, even start a hobby like skiing or photography. To fix our broken planet, we must first realize what is broken and why; and that starts with getting outside.