Health, Happiness and their relationship with Nature

Many people feel admiration and respect for nature. They are sensitive to the beauty of wild landscapes, plants and animals. In this there is generosity, affection, it has nothing to do with the usefulness that nature can have, they see it as something much more important than "natural resources" to use, sell or eat. Of course we need to use nature, but it is not good to consider it as anything more than things to use.

Perceiving that nature is much more than things that are there to take advantage of, realizing that the beings of nature share existence with humans, this is knowledge that dissolves proud selfishness. This knowledge makes it possible to see the ridiculousness of proclaiming "man comes first." We have to be well, but we also have to respect other beings.

I saw a sign that says dolphins are "world heritage"; I find it offensive, it seems better to feel that dolphins (and every being, human or not) are world heritage, or of oneself, or of the universe, or that they belong to the "owner" (a non-human being) as many aborigines say ("Indians").

Living with nature is something pure, elevated, luminous, beyond utilitarian selfishness. Respecting and admiring the wild is a healthy, normal attitude, it is a healthy relationship with the world, with reality. This is good, without the need for it to give profitable results, personal gains, benefits. But it also gives all those things.

Almost all of us realize that there is less and less natural landscape, wild plants, free animals. And more and more poisoned garbage, cement, air and water. And this seems harmful to us.


Or they believe that all this is not important, because their experience encloses them between walls, people and machines and that is why they know nothing more than politics, economics, human beings and their works; All this can be good or bad, but knowing and appreciating nothing more than that is always bad.

It's possible? It is very easy to feel that nothing can be done to preserve nature, that destruction is inevitable or even necessary, that it is the price of progress. But anything that has that price is not progress, it is a scam, a theft, a crime.

Those of us who feel that it is good that nature exists, the wild landscape, the native animals in freedom, took the first step in the good direction. But although that step is very valuable, it is not enough. We can already see something very important, but staying there is abandoning that vision. It is necessary to investigate, find out, experiment, learn, until we know why it is good that there is nature, to understand why it is essential that wild nature exists. And when we get to know that, at the same time we discover things that need to be done so that there continues to be nature. It is also necessary to investigate and discover how these things can be done: - how to make it possible to do them and - in what ways they must be done so that they give effective, real results, not just imaginary or on paper. And these investigations help to discover more needs and more possibilities.

It is very misleading to believe that the only thing to do is prohibit and punish, fines, jail, police, guards, close factories; In many cases these things may be necessary, but that is a way of trying to prevent results. It is better to find and correct the causes than to try to prevent the effects.

Find the Causes

The most important question in this matter is: Why is there less and less nature? The answer is: Because modern humanity destroys it.

The second question is: Why do you destroy it? Answer: For two reasons: 1A) You need to use it or 1B) in many cases you just want to use it and 2) You don't realize that it is necessary to take care of it.

After considering these questions, it should be evident that it is necessary to: 1A) Use natural resources as little as possible; Make the most of what is extracted, recycle, don't waste, don't throw anything away. 1B) Use only what is necessary, never use something without need. 2) Understand well the many reasons why it is necessary to maintain wildness.

These three points (1A, 1B, 2) have to be the main themes of environmental education.

La environmental education It can be tremendously exciting, it is a huge topic, it includes advertising, it has many forms and there are many other forms to discover and put into operation. And it is the only way to get modern culture off its suicidal path. It is necessary to do it. You have to dedicate yourself as much as possible to discovering, as I said before, how this education can be done and what are the most effective ways to do it.

It has to be an attractive and fascinating education, which gives great pleasure to those who learn, the joy of knowledge, the exciting adventure of discovery.

The forces of modern society that destroy nature use a lot of propaganda, because they know it gives them power. The protection of the world also has to use propaganda, publicize as much as possible and in the best possible way that exciting adventure of discovering, the fascinating fun of knowing and understanding wild animals, plants.

And it has to be done in many ways: expeditions, excursions, courses, conferences, videos, television, magazines, brochures, books, contests, prizes, exhibitions and many other things. All based on deep knowledge, without favoritism except for the truth; for all types of people; for every taste. In a way that is understood and liked, that attracts, that arouses interest. The topic is appropriate for all this, it helps, because it is very interesting.

One aspect that must be taken into account is that much of the destruction of nature is the result of seeing it as nothing more than something useful. This aspect of nature is already well known because we see it every day and it is part of the problem.

It is very important to help see nature and its beings as something good, beautiful, respectable, something that can be loved with affection and treated with generosity and kindness, like a friend, a person. This is good in itself, but it is also part of the healthy development of personality, it is as important and as necessary as food, air, water, clothing, home.


Some mock these aspects, saying with contempt that they are "idealistic" things. That is a very serious error, because this IS NOT IDEALISM, IT IS REALISM: the human being is not only the physical body and ambition, it is much more than that. If the spiritual and emotional aspects cannot be developed well, if they are abandoned, the being will be infra-human and will harm itself and everything around it.

Exactly this is happening in the world and is one of the causes of the destruction of nature and excessive violence between human beings. The person who treats nature with cruelty and contempt cannot treat humans well, because he has violence inside and it comes out towards everything around him. This seems to return to the main theme of modern civilization: what is good for human beings. That is why I insist that it is worth in itself to respect other beings: plants, animals, rocks, rivers. This respect does not need to benefit humans, to be "profitable", for it to be a good thing. But, since everything is united, it does benefit human beings, it is profitable.

"Everything that happens to animals and plants will happen to humans." To have health and happiness, people need the health and well-being of plants, of the landscape. This is not the only need, but it is one of the basic ones, one of the first, constant needs. This is easy to lose sight of in modern society, because this society is based on business and the pursuit of power, as is evident by seeing what many people and especially many government officials do.

Genuine authority and power are those based on knowledge, not power itself. When power is based on itself (physical strength, fortune, weapons), there is pride, arrogance, destruction, authoritarianism, the search for more power. Without respecting anything other than power. A society that functions like this is inevitably an enemy of nature and an enemy of itself and of all humanity.

Knowledge and respect go together, if knowledge is lacking, there is no respect and then what rules is the power of routine, custom and brute force and arbitrariness. Nature and human beings are despised. There is a very strong tendency to completely exterminate everything natural and exploit people, because nature, people and everything are seen only as "resources", "natural" and "human", which exist only for be used to gain more power, they do not have value in themselves. That is why in this trend there is no respect, there is violence, cruelty and that is why it is self-destructive, suicidal. That trend is supported because it has power, not because it is good. It is not good, it gives bad results because it increasingly destroys the harmony between people and between people and nature; it increases violence and disorder.

We must support what is good, what does well

Do not support what is powerful even if it is bad, which is what is commonly done. Doing this leads to making things worse to gain power. That is one of the damages that haunt us. You have to look for the good, the true, the real, the genuine. With kindness, generosity and affection, without authoritarianism, with kindness, sensitivity, knowledge, consideration.

The ambition for power defends what has power and attacks what is weak. This, inevitably and evidently, increases imbalance, disorder and violence, destroys harmony, beauty, and health. We must support the good, the true, not the power. If there is something necessary, good, but weak, it must be strengthened, promoted, defended.

Being respectful, appreciating, are conditions of sensitivity, of active and awake perception, which are expressed towards everything: people, animals, plants, buildings, all things. It leads towards harmony, health, beauty. That is why the ability to respect nature is linked to the ability to respect human beings, the two things go together. It is caring, helping. The careful, kind, respectful treatment of all people, all things, all beings, is the only way to produce and maintain peace, happiness, harmony, well-being and a progress that deserves to be called that.

It is neither obligatory nor normal, nor necessary, nor good, to kill all the trees and other plants in the natural landscape, as many believe and many do. Next to each house or home, you can leave as a garden or park or "green space", the landscape that formed on its own over the passage of decades or centuries. Leaving it, even a part, is good because it does good for people, animals, plants, and the climate. But being in the city makes us feel that the landscape has to be almost all cement and no nature; In this case, as in many others, custom is the enemy of intelligence.

I do not intend for all this to be accepted because I say it or because I like it, but rather I invite you to understand it and perceive and realize, without a doubt, that it is true.

By Ricardo Barbetti.