All natural

Sun coming through the trees

Everything. Everything you’ve touched, smelled, felt, seen, or experienced is natural. It is part of nature – the ever-evolving and wondrous flow of life all around us.

We so often want to draw a line between “nature” or “natural” – everything that occurs as it would without human technology – and “unnatural” – everything that humans have invented on their own. We so often ascribe goodness to the former and wickedness to the later. Purity to one and dirtiness to the other.

But my truth is that humans are a part of nature. We are a part of the ancient evolution of life that has taken place here on Earth. We occurred here just as naturally as anything else. We share much of the same DNA. We all are equally dependent on Earth as our home. Humans are inextricably united with all other beings here on Earth. We are all natural. We are all nature. And not only that, humans are a wondrously beautiful part of nature, capable of developing life-long loving relationships, creating incredible works of art, growing global networks of communication and cooperation. In many ways, we are at the cutting-edge of nature’s evolution here on Earth.



There it indeed something deeply healing and profound about spending time in “nature” – in the presence of trees, wildlife, and stillness, away from the busyness and complexity of human society. In fact, spending more time in this “nature” is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, at least for me.

But what’s not healthy for me is this mental barrier we put in our minds, with “nature” on one side being good and pure, and “human” on the other being dirty and shameful. This barrier only serves to make us feel bad about ourselves and separate us from that thing which can be healing. There is no barrier. We are all part of nature, part of Earth. And it is part of us.

And perhaps most importantly, we will best take care of ourselves and our planet when we truly embrace that we are all one and the same. The first step in getting back into right relationship with nature here on Earth is to stop pretending it is something outside of and separate from ourselves. It is us. When we neglect it, we hurt ourselves.


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Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA with his partner Sara, child Owen, and cat Winnie.

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