Back to Nature (Published on - March 30, 2006)
Humans: a minute in earth time
Photo by Rick Tremmel
There are no more white tigers left in the wild. According to the World Wildlife foundation, it’s estimated that only 5,100 to 7,500 individual tigers now remain in the entire world.
“When two great forces collide, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield” – Taoist saying

Ever stopped for a minute to think about how much effort and how many dollars are spent to keep our world from returning back to nature?

From the first time a human took a digging stick and dragged it across the soil to divert a rivulet of water we’ve been altering our environment to suit our needs and whims.

From that simple carved rivulet rose dams, levies, walls, fences, barricades, culverts, sewers, treatment plants, bridges and roads.

The United States alone has more than 2.42 million miles (3.9 million kilometers) of paved roads. But have you ever noticed how hard those road crews work to repair what nature keeps undoing?

Have you ever wondered what kind of spirit that tiny little weed must have as it pushes between the cracks of a sidewalk to show the world its beautiful yellow flower?

We can’t stop progress, and there are few people that would suggest we go backwards to live in huts along flooding river banks or return to nomadic lifestyles following the seasons, food and water resources.

A more reasonable solution and compromise is to manage our growth and alterations. It is time to make changes. It is time to look for alternative solutions.

If we are to survive like the little weed growing between the cracks of cement, we must resist to resist.

Floridians have firsthand experience with the forces of nature. These experiences include our violent storms and hurricanes, but nature’s persistence is present, as well, with each wave that strikes the shore, in each sunset that dips below the horizon, in each river that carves its way through the landscape, with each lake that fills with raindrops, with each oak that bows its limbs in strength to touch the ground.

Nature yields to the lamp post on one day. The next day coral vine spirals upward reaching for the sun on a new found perch. Nature yields to the destruction of habitat on one day. The next day a pair of osprey build a nest upon a highway sign. Nature yields and adapts.

If every member of the human race disappeared overnight, nature would persevere beyond the memory of us. The concept that does not seem apparent to most citizens is this: The consequences we deal out upon our earth will return negative results for humankind.

We are the planned obsolescence. We are dispensable. We are altering ourselves out of existence. Can we be so arrogant as to not realize that if there are no more Siberian tigers, there are no more Florida panthers, black bears, spotted owls, giant pandas, mountain gorillas, whooping cranes, condors or Javan rhinoceros that we remain unaffected?

These losses are mere symptoms. Humans know about symptoms. We know that some of the most destructive diseases for humans lay dormant with no symptoms at all until it is already too late.

Without being melodramatic, I sincerely believe this is the situation of our earth.

I sincerely believe that if we don’t make a U-turn on our path of destruction and resist to resist, it will be too late. It is necessary to invest in our future with time, money, solutions and willpower. That little flower showing its yellow face to the sun is a reminder to us that nature will return even though we are gone.

As we rearrange, divert and alter the other elements we will certainly, absolutely be affected. If we are the disease, our destiny will be to eventually disappear in silent apathy. What’s left in our absence will harmoniously return back to nature.

That’s the spirit and the legacy of the little yellow flower. It is that little breathless song upon the forces of nature that will return the earth back to nature … with or without us.

Karen can be reached at

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