What’s my relationship to nature?

I love nature. That’s easy. Does nature love me back? That’s trickier.

Words by Bastien Perez

Humanity has hurt nature by releasing fossil fuels, creating toxic chemicals, and clear-cutting ancient forests. Humans have done immense damage to the earth, but does that mean nature doesn’t love me?

I believe that nature is forgiving. Nature loves me back. She wants me to eat and to give me a roof over my head. Being an outdoor enthusiast, nature is the perfect canvas to express myself, where the only limit is my imagination.

But I do think humanity needs to drastically improve how we treat nature. Climate change, ocean acidification, and species extinction are just few of the ways she’s communicating that she’s not happy. She’s being abused.

If I love nature and nature loves me, then we are in a relationship. Like the relationship I have with my girlfriend, it’s a give and take. It’s reciprocal. We compliment each other and we make each other stronger. In our couple, we are constantly looking for ways to improve.

Our relationship with nature requires the same continuous cycle. Love is the core and goes both ways. Awareness, communication, and creativity are what we need, to keep the relationship healthy.

My girlfriend and I have had to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, our personalities and love languages. The more aware we are, the better we do. When we forget, we fight. We start to drift apart.

So, we have to communicate. We must talk about what’s working and what’s not. I must be open and vulnerable. I must tell her when my feelings get hurt and when she’s pushing my buttons. This is hard. It is work in progress. We’ve stopped expecting perfection.

Sometimes you must get creative. With our two respective life, jobs, busy schedules, we must be creative to stay connected. 

“With nature goes the same. We need to be aware of what’s happening before we can change. We need to educate ourselves. Read, listen, look outside our windows, and learn. ”

A simple example is palm oil. Palm oil is in almost all processed foods and a lot of skincare products. Ancient forests are slashed and burned to make room for oil palm trees. When these forests burn, orangutans are killed or made homeless. Carbon is released from the ancient trees that are cleared. Palm oil is nowhere near sustainable yet, but consumer awareness has made an impact. Companies like Unilever and Nutella have made serious commitments to buying sustainably sourced palm oil. The more consumers are aware of the problems with palm oil, the more pressure there is for big brands to buy from sustainably certified companies. Or in the best-case scenario, stop using such things.

Creativity is the most important gift we have for developing solutions to every problem related to nature conservation. Do you believe the way things are today must stay the same tomorrow? Or, do you believe we have the ability to improve the way we live and also help nature? 

Incorporating more train and bike commute in my daily practice of sport was my way of getting creative. Biking to the bottom of a run route for example. 

I believe we all can improve the way we live and at the same time, we can help nature. So, nature needs us just as much as we need nature. We can be part of the solution or part of the problem. Through awareness, communication, creativity, and love I can develop a better relationship with my girlfriend, just as I can develop a healthier relationship with nature.

I love nature and nature loves me. I just need to keep learning how to treat her better. The better I treat her the better she will treat me. I know our relationship can be greatly improved.

About Bastien

Bastien spent his childhood wandering the mountains, skiing, climbing, biking and running. Not wanting to be confined by the rules of racing, he prefers meandering lesser-known routes and rowdy mountain human powered linkups as a way to stay connected to nature.

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