Nature for sale

Posted: October 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know that nature has important cultural and spiritual values. However, nature today, like outdoor experiences, is packaged and sold like commodities. Who are the beneficiaries and losers from this setup? It seem humans have rights to destroy nature.

Nature is destroyed for short-term gains. Today hikes and Nature Reserves are designed to be as comfortable as possible to resemble a digital city life. On one trail there are hotels, tar roads, emergency telephones, and in the middle of the Nature Reserve, a shop. All this comes together as a package – nature as a commodity. Our forests are destroyed to accommodate our modern way of living. In South Africa, Nature Reserves offer conference facilities enabling delegates to have their conferences in a superb natural setting. Some conference venues are created even at the expense of blocking a river from flowing and stopping water supply to poor neighbouring villages. This infrastructure will happen even if it means some wild animals are denied water supply. Some community loses because a bit of an open space taken, or say goodbye to a place with wonderful flowers and good smell. The trees that are homes to the birds and other animals are bulldozed out of existence too. I start to remember Haiti’s disaster. Haitians suffered from devastating floods because there is little to hold the water back after the country virtually cut down all of its forests for fuel. It was also as a result of the country losing much of its topsoil due to erosion.

There are many sustainable outdoors practices that could limit commoditizing nature, in order to leave outdoor activities as natural as possible. It doesn’t matter whether people can get something out of the mountains and rivers, but still as nature these should be respected and protected. How about an idea that city should resemble a city and nature to remain as nature? Also, I think we often place all the blame on the multi-corporations companies, but we (those who care) are missing the point since the consumers enable those companies anyway. Lets go out of our way to foster respect for the environment and experience the natural world on its own terms. It will be a disaster for nature to accommodate the lifestyle of every human on earth without humans adapting to nature’s lifestyle. The intrinsic value of nature itself should allow us to wonder at its beauty and not to exploit it. Growing up in Limpopo I used to see village men and women praying for the rain to come. They used to select the biggest tree to pray underneath it. In the village, everybody respected and worshiped nature. Nature is their God and not even the chief is allowed to mess up with the forest. Nature is viewed as a common property that belongs to everyone. To this day, the village’s rule hasn’t changed – nature is not for sale and no one is allowed to fiddle with it.

There’s no need to struggle finding the value of nature by commoditizing it. We should rather make an assessment of what it would take for nature to support humanity if everybody lived this lifestyle. It is clear that so far our lifestyle is getting too much for our planet earth. Our forests contain potential medical compounds and the spiritual values, which we are destroying yet at the same time some of us want to make others to believe they are saving the environment.

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