Recently there has been a rise in ecological awareness throughout the globe. The reason being that mankind is essentially destroying Nature with the toxicity of progress. Thus, understandably, it is a positive realization among us that we are in a mutual relationship with the environment and that we should be preserving it as well.

But, what if the motive behind such awareness and actions is not that pure to begin with? Why should we be trying so hard to keep Nature the way it is? Does Nature really need us to nurture it back to its previous state?

This may seem a blasphemous question to ask, but if given more thought, it would show a perverse paternalistic approach to Nature, not that much different from the Catholic Church’s extinct belief of a geocentric universe. In some twisted way, we have convinced ourselves that without our intervention, Nature will not exist the same way and will become extinct. What we forget in our anthropocentric perspective of the salvation of Nature, is that Nature is not centered around us, as Darwin stated (Ref). But time and again, it has been shown that nature flourishes or restores itself (if you prefer) better WITHOUT human intervention. There is no better example than the case of coral reefs, where researchers showed that damaged coral reefs, without human intervention, grew healthier compared to the “reefs with people”.

If looked deeper into this matter, could it be that our fear of change is holding us back? Slavoj Zizek argues that our idea of ecological preservation deriving from the idea that us, humans, have disturbed it, is what is wrong with our understanding of “Nature”. His perspective is an echo of Timothy Morton‘s theory on ecology that this delusion of saving nature is actually driving us away from Nature itself. Perhaps this is a manifestation of our fear of letting go of “Nature”, or as we understand it. Are we really that scared of a future with a hybrid form of nature with organisms with synthetically engineered genomes, in vitro meat, printed out organs and structures held together by complex chemicals that act like biological units?

The restoration of natural flow, if we have disturbed it, can only be fully performed if we come to understand that Nature does not revolve around us, rather we are “embedded” in it. Let us remember the closest approximation to the origin of our existence – self-assembly and evolution.

“ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs’d in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First, forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
Thus the tall Oak, the giant of the wood,
Which bears Britannia’s thunders on the flood;
The Whale, unmeasured monster of the main,
The lordly Lion, monarch of the plain,
The Eagle soaring in the realms of air,
Whose eye undazzled drinks the solar glare,
Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd,
Of language, reason, and reflection proud,
With brow erect, who scorns this earthy sod,
And styles himself the image of his God;
Arose from rudiments of form and sense,
An embryon point, or microscopic ens!”
Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature, 1803