It is neither “denialism” nor “some sort of pseudo-mystical climate activism.” It is, quite simply, that the solution to our environmental problems relies, at least in large part, upon first recognizing that we are a part of nature as opposed to apart from it. There’s nothing “pseudo-mystical” about that notion. It’s just a fact. As I attempted to make clear within the article, that’s not to say there isn’t a critical role for protected areas to play when it comes to issues like climate change or protecting biodiversity. Quite the contrary. However, the reason these areas are natural isn’t because we aren’t in them. As climate change makes clear we can have a powerful effect on how these areas function without ever stepping foot in them at all. It’s precisely for that reason we need to see our cities and industrial activity as just as much a part of the natural environment as our national parks, wilderness areas, and refuges. Climate change should be all the proof you need that how they function and how other systems function is every bit as connected as keystone species are to the functioning of a thriving ecosystem. It’s the perpetuation of the myth that nature only exists where humans don’t that is actually a form of denialism.

Yes, I do argue that the planet will be just fine with or without us if by “just fine” we mean life in some form will continue no matter how reckless we are. This rock has seen far bigger catastrophes than us and each recovery has produced greater diversity afterward than existed before. However, I don’t make that point to liberate us from responsibility but to encourage greater humility. We are here now and our own wellbeing as well as that of the other lifeforms we currently share this planet with depend upon our acting in concert with nature to the best of our understanding and ability instead of either trying to control it or defining it as existing only in our absence. Any argument for our separation from nature, however well intentioned, gets in the way of our acting as intelligent agents within the natural environment that gave rise to us and to which we remain and will be linked up to the arrival of our own extinction, be it caused by a comet or our own carelessness. It is because both contemporary economics and a large segment of the environmental movement promotes the notion that we are separate from nature (albeit generally in support of different agendas) we have so far failed to address problems like climate change. The underlying premise is wrong and so the solutions we come up with that depend upon that premise for support tend to miss the mark as well.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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