With over 12 years guiding family adventure and nature tours in Costa Rica one of the first facts as a guide you always tell your guest is that Costa Rica “protects” over 30% of it’s land in reserves and national parks. The question nobody ever ask is: ”what are they protecting it from?”. The answer is they are protecting it from a destructive species that can act like a life ending bacteria to any land and all life it comes in contact with. This dominant species is “us”. What we also tell our guest is that 70% of the country is not “protected” from this destruction.
The reason we often highlight the 70% is because that is exactly where the issue lies on a global level. We have divided our modern day lifestyle into one section and nature and conservation into another section. Unfortunately the National Park system is a band-aid to cope with our modern day high consumption lifestyles. True conservation will be present when we realize that words like “sustainability”, “conservation”, “protected areas”, “reserves”, and words of such are not even needed because it will be when humans as a species have developed a lifestyle that other ecosystems and lifeforms do not need to be “protected” from us.
Ok, so easy enough you might be saying we just need to change our vocabulary and BAM! we are on our way to a more sustainable “Blue Marble” and life as we know it will be Ferngully-ish from now until the end of time. As most of us know unfortunately this is not the case. The “green movement” since the 60′s has been trying to educate and pound into our minds and thoughts the devastating consequences to our planet for the lifestyles we are living. We continue today with educating on recycling, compost, protect the rainforest, carbon credits, and the list goes on. The present day Greed and Power seem to outweigh any moral desicions we can make today to help with future generations, which has kept the environmentalist fighting a war that seems like one they are losing as sea-levels rise, our food system struggles, water is vanishing, and species disappearing.
The cry for help might seem easier than we have made it out to be. The cause is quite easy and does not have to do with moral issues, lack of education, or future generations. What we are dealing with is a complete isolation from the natural world comparable to no other time in history.
The fix to this historical isolation from the natural world has a very CHEAP and EASY cure. The medicine for this chronic disease is simply getting outside into the natural environment. This involves more than going outside and bringing the heavy and constant thoughts you deal with in the hectic world of your everyday lives. The goal here is to go outside and just notice the natural world and be present in every little action from the birds flying, wind blowing, leaves falling, and bees buzzing. This might sound like a phony/hippy way of doing things but we have come to a point in human existence where our awareness of the natural environment is practically diminished to nothing in some cases. Once we become aware of the natural world conservation comes as natural as breathing and walking.