Lesson From Nature

Not long ago, I read an article about how the Amazon is suffering from an extremely severe drought. According to researchers, the cause is perceived as an increase in the surface temperature of the North Atlantic Sea, which is due to climate change. An increase in the surface temperature of the ocean leads to the formation of a strong low pressure system around the area, while the other areas persistently remain in the high pressure system. In other words, the low pressure accompanies a high volume of rainfall while the persistent high pressure provides minimum rainfall, triggering drought.

Lesson From Nature - Wisdom's WebzineDrought has occasionally come to the South American regions but it has never been severe enough to threaten the Amazon’s ecosystem.

However, beginning with the unprecedented drought of 2005, caused by climate change, drought has continued to reoccur. The aftermath of the 2005 drought hit with a second drought in 2010 and then again this year. The severity of the situation has reached the stage where scientists are concerned about the potential inability to recover the Amazon rainforest.

Such a threat to the Amazon rainforest is a result of climate change due to destructive human activities. Our indiscreet deforestation and incendiary of forests for the development of pastures, croplands and gold mines have further added to the direct devastation of the forest. Scientists believe that as a result, the Amazon, which used to absorb approximately 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, now annually emits about 5 times more carbon dioxide (the volume is even higher than the total annual volume of emission from the United States and India) formed from the decomposition of dead trees due to droughts and incendiaries. An even larger volume of CO2 emission will further raise the air temperature, causing further droughts and making the Amazon rainforest more susceptible to burning. Moreover, a decline in the canopy structure stimulates water evaporation and rain flow into rivers instead of being absorbed by the forest. Therefore, the destruction of the rainforest accelerates as the total volume of water reduces (if the icy ocean expands at a faster rate, due to the arctic ice melting and the temperature rising as the solar heat that used to be reflected by the ice gets absorbed). It is indeed a vicious cycle, and ultimately, the Amazon which has always been called the Carbon sink is now becoming a dangerous smokestack of the Earth.

Such a phenomenon is happening not only in the Amazon area but also in the South East Asian rainforests. Rainforests relatively reduce the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere and slow down the process of climate change. However, these rainforests are losing their function, and are ironically emitting a higher volume of CO2 and accelerating the climate change. This obviously shows that due to the indiscreet human activities nature has hit its limit, thus no longer able to provide its natural cure. So far, mankind has been developing superb techniques for its own convenience and benefit. However, it seems we are far behind the Stone Age man in terms of techniques allowing symbiosis with nature. We often talk of ‘conservation of nature’. However, human beings don’t really care to conserve nature. We, self-centered humans, have lived forgetting about the fact that nature has been conserving us. Nature just lives in the conditions given to it, without any mind, without expecting anything in return. However, humans are blinded by thoughts of ‘possession’ and try own whatever we can. For our own sake, we are recklessly destructing nature in the narrow-minded and short-sighted ways. For example, after the value of gold increased, illegal gold extractors are gathering near the Amazon region. Blinded by profits from gold, they have been brutally destroying the forest with power saws and bombs and incendiaries. Even worse, they have not only been sweeping away the livelihood of the natives who assimilated to nature, but also snatching away the lives of so many. Having become a slave to money and materials, it is how we are in the current mammonism pursuing what will vanish someday. We should quickly realize that the material world is false and will not last forever, and we should try to escape from the life bound to materials. In order to do so, we must first let go of the mind of possession. It seems it is now time we start learning the way to coexist from nature that lives without possession.

Then, let’s see how nature coexists from the examples below. The most typical life in a symbiotic relationship is clownfish, a celebrity from ‘Finding Nemo’, and sea anemones. Tentacles of sea anemones contain poison strong enough to kill small fish immediately, but clownfish are the only fish that can freely swim between these tentacles. Therefore, clownfish make sea anemones their homes, protected from their natural enemies and eat sediments in between tentacles. And, anemones eat predators followed by colorful clownfish. Seen from the human conception, anemones provide clownfish a roost and food, and clownfish bring prey for anemones and clean up their roost, in return. Other symbiotic relationships are crocodiles and crocodile birds, shark suckers and turtles, tree roots and mushrooms, leguminous plants and leguminous bacteria, colons and colon bacillus, ants and aphids, flowers and bees, and the other countless… However, they are also mere examples named by the human concepts. They just exist under the given condition in harmony, even without the mind that they are in symbiotic relationships. This would be the lesson we must learn from nature. Wouldn’t it?

Lesson From Nature - Wisdom's Webzine

Although nature bountifully provides us with everything, it doesn’t expect anything in return because it doesn’t even have the mind of giving. However, humans have only lived for themselves, since they engraved such concepts as ‘mine, yours’ and ‘I, you’ in their mind. For me, looking back at my life I realized I only lived for myself. I now realize that I did everything, even the things I did for someone, was for me; it was actually to fill up my ego. Nature exists as it is. It lives in harmony without possession, without greed. The ideal world we’ve been dreaming for would be the place where everyone peacefully coexists with no distinction between you and me, rather than the fantastical and beautiful place of the phenomenal world. It seems to be now the time we, humans who only care for themselves not knowing to care for others, must emulate nature living one without mind. And, the way to become one with the world is by emptying the self-centered mind, which is the most important task to accomplish in our lives and the only way to achieve utopia.