Our estrangement from the dark was a great and serious loss
On a cloudless night, looking upwards, you experience a sudden flipped vertigo, the sensation that your feet might latch off from the earth and that you might plummet upwards into space. Star-gazing gives us access to orders of events, and scales of time and space, which are beyond our capacity to imagine: it is unsurprising that dreams of humility and reverence have been directed towards the moon and the stars for as long as human culture has recorded itself.
Our disenchantment of the night through artificial lighting may appear, if it is noticed at all, as a regrettable but eventually trivial side-effect of contemporary life. That winter hour, though, up on the summit ridge with the stars falling plainly far above, it seemed to me that our estrangement from the dark was a great and serious loss.
Mariners had painstakingly mapped the coastlines of the continents. Geographers had translated these findings into charts and globes. Photographs of ...
It's the idea that people living close to nature tend to be noble. It's seeing all those sunsets that does it. You can't watch a sunset and then go off and set fire to your neighbor's tepee. Living close to nature is wonderful for your mental health.
But we can easily extend this hypothesis [that nature has beneficial effects on the physical, cognitive and emotional well-being of individuals] to the conservation of biodiversity. [Ecologists] refer to the extinction of the experience of nature, which they have mainly applied in urban areas. The idea is as follows: from generation to generation, young people live less and less in contact with nature (because there are fewer of them and because their lifestyles limit such contact), at the very moment they are building their identity. The part of their identity that integrates their intimate relationships with their natural environment would therefore diminish from generation to generation. Not because of a lack of education, but mainly because of a decline in opportunities and desires to experience nature without constraint, freely and in their own personal way.
The consequences of this decrease appear in adulthood: with a weaker environmental identity, they are less in demand for nature in their daily lives, they integrate it less in their actions. (...) But if we do not collectively take biodiversity into consideration in our lifestyles, then we will suffer.
Source : Mobilizing against the extinction of nature experience (french), july 2015, Espaces naturels
An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.