We are our own destroyer

Our relationship with nature is very easy to understand. Without nature, we cannot survive. Without water and food, which must come from nature, we cannot debate in politics, produce electronics, watch videos and listen to music. The human society has become incredibly dependent on electricity, and where does electricity come from? It must come from the energy of nature: the sun, the wind, the rivers, and the fossil fuels which took millions of years to form. Our incredible advance in technology, the steam machines, the computers, the planes and ships, are all entirely dependent on nature: the fuels, the raw materials used to produce and manufacture, and the electricity which we convert from the energy of nature.

Any kind of livelihood must understand this single factor: the necessity of nature. Yet this seems to be what is most confusing to us. We don't seem to understand how our smartphones are made, where they must come from, and what it must take to ship all different kinds of rare metals and raw materials from different parts of the world to other parts of the world to be manufactured. What it must take to make the equipment in the factories, and what it must take to ship the final products again to different parts of the world. It is quite obvious what is important to us. Our pleasure and convenience, our efficiency to manufacture pleasure and convenience, and our profit and power. Yet, our efficiency and convenience is totally dependent on what nature can provide. Without the silicon there is no semiconductor, and without the semiconductor there are no smartphones or computers. Without the rare earth metals we cannot make electronic devices which listen to our commands and turn on the lights in the kitchen. And without the water and food, we cannot make anything. Water and food is changing its patterns, because of the changes in the climate.

The climate will change. It has always changed. What our unprecedented plundering and pollution has done to Earth will not change that fact, but only steer the climate into a field unknown to our scientific knowledge. This means, we cannot predict what will happen on a large scale. We only know what we have experienced, the floods and wildfires, and make predictions based on what we know. Yet, the fact is, our knowledge, however grand or expansive, is still extremely small compared to the knowledge of the Earth, which has took millions upon millions of years to form and change. The fact is, everything on Earth has an impact on each other. The pollution of the river not only kill fish, but also poison the humans who drink from it, and it has further impacts on the hospitals, the families, the factories and farms, the nations and villages, and stir further changes in those who do business and politics with these areas. The fish that are killed will impact the entire food chain which relies on them, which means less predators for those down and less food source for those up the food chain, and this means an rapid expansion of certain species and rapid death of others, and all this change will eventually catch up to human beings who consume the fish, the vegetables, the birds, and the mammals.

This is the reality of the climate. It will change in ways we cannot predict. We can only face it, adapt to it, because we do not know what we will face. The utter complexity of nature is beyond any human prediction, yet without understanding this fact, we have changed nature in our own ways, in the service of our own greed and satisfaction, and we will be the ones bearing the consequences, either disaster or death.

This is the other point. Nature does not care for our survival. Earth will continue to exist without human beings. We might kill all lives on Earth, but we will have accomplished nothing, because nature continues to exist. The ways of the planet and the stars, the ways of particles' attraction and repulsion, the ways of the universe will survive any kind of human impact. Nature, and therefore the universe, cares not if we survive. It has never cared and will never care. Its evolution is the result of the natural expression of everything within. Water meets fire and will heat up and evaporate. The leaf will absorb sunlight and gas to grow its trunk. The river will flow downward, and the volcanoes will erupt. The hurricanes will sweep through the land and the drought will wipe out lives dependent on water. We cannot change this fact. We cannot alter the very foundation of nature, the very root of nature. What we have done, the burning and breaking and digging, the excavation of Earth's core, the massive poisoning of animals, land, water, and ourselves, will only lead to its natural consequence: humanity's self-destruction.

The entire project of environmental protection has not been about protecting nature. Nature needs not our protection. It simply exists, with tremendous beauty and grandiosity. What we are really protecting is ourselves, our livelihoods, our entertainments, our ideas of nature, and our knowledge of the world. We want to continue to appreciate the beauty of rare species. We want to drink clean water. We want to make sure the food we eat is healthy and nutritious. We want to pass down our traditions. We want to keep watching our favorite entertainments. We want to keep making money and keep buying and selling. We want to keep fulfilling our dreams and desires. We want all these things, and none of them can escape nature's foundation. Every single action that we have done and will ever do is dependent on nature. They depend on the gravity of the Earth, on the necessity for survival which is water food and shelter. They depend on rivers to keep flowing so our dams can generate the electricity we use to charge our smartphones. They depend on a climate habitable for human beings, which means not too hot or too cold, not too windy or too dry or too humid. We as human beings are incredibly fragile, and we cannot survive extreme weather conditions without the help of our technology. And this technology is entirely dependent on nature, its resources, and whether we can still survive to produce this technology.

This is why we do not have a choice in face of nature. We must live in accordance to its rhythms and changes. The tremendous technological progress we have seen gave us the illusion that we can do whatever we want. We can go to the Moon or Mars. We can wipe out thousands upon thousands of people in one blast. We can dive into the deepest reaches of the ocean. We can explore Earth's history back to millions of years. We can study the ancient humans and animals. We can accumulate vast amount of knowledge about everything existing. This we can do, yet we do so not because we are capable and intelligent, but because we utilized the forces of nature. The fire, the electricity, the water vapors, the magnetic field. The heat, the gravity, the fuels, the waves of light. We are cunning in our ways. We know how to use nature's forces to satisfy ourselves. But if we are at all intelligent, we see that anything we do have natural consequences, and if we temper with the rhythms of nature, we temper with our own survival.

This is what many of the ancients understood. They understood nature's fundamental importance in life. They understood nature cannot be tempered with, but only lived with in harmony. We, the modern humans, think we can change what we like, burn what we wish, build what we desire, and that has the natural consequence of unprecedented natural changes on a global scale. We do not like change. We want things to stay, to last, and in our desire to build ever-lasting empires of money and power, we invite the storms of destruction. Droughts, famines, diseases, floods have happened throughout history on grand civilizations and societies, across continents of the Earth, and we seemed to learn nothing from them. We are our own destroyer. If we wish to really live in harmony, in happiness and peace, then we must first stop our destruction.

In our technological dream, we think of escaping the grasp of nature. Unfortunately, nature is inescapable. Technology is the very expression of nature. Wherever we go, the things we meet, the food we eat, the very body we use, abide by the laws of change and harmony. We can disrupt that harmony, but a new harmony will present itself through change, and either we live or die, are healthy or ill at the end of it does not concern this law. This law is unconditional. It does not judge anything, because everything exist as the very expression of that law. We must understand this law, or else we live in our delusions and perish with ignorance. We are the only ones responsible for ourselves. We are our own shepherds, as it were. If any change is to happen in our society, which is based on our thought and ideas and relationships, we must be the one to change, because we are the very ones that constitute this society.

We can either sit idly by, or act now. The tragedy is we think this is a choice we can make.


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