‘Deep Ecology’ and Our Place in Nature

I have to admit that there is something very appealing about the worlds shown in fantasy literature, films and video games. One feature that seems to encompass all of these portrayals is the prevalence of wildlife and wildwood, which are also populated by magical beings such as elves, goblins and trolls. The forests and open landscapes are what many heroes have to pass through on their quests, as the human settlements are either small villages or castles, as opposed to large cities that have very little biodiversity in and around them. The reason for this is fairly obvious, it reflects our continuous longing for a time before, when we had not learned how to exploit the land and its creatures, and we lived alongside rather than apart form Nature.

Our native mythology is the source of this imagery in modern fantasy, as our ancestral memories will evoke the desire to once again see what our land was like before the extermination of the wolf and the boar, but also other paranormal creatures such as BBCs (British Big Cats, large panther-like felines seen throughout the British countryside and are part of our native lore). Not only that, but the forests and caves are also places where a hero must journey to seek some sort of person as part of their quest, or to find some special object and overcome a guardian (such as a dragon or an elfin knight). Our relationship with the land is reflected in our stories and songs, and so its’ welfare is directly linked with our spiritual health as a people and how much we value our own country. Another consistent feature of fantasy is the absence of high technology, as most technology is represented at a Medieval level, with honourable weapons, such as swords and shields and bows and arrows, being used in the place of guns and drones. The destruction is present, but it does not throw the whole system out of balance, as warfare and disaster is a part of life and will happen no matter how much ‘control’ we may think we have over Nature.

One of the major downsides of Modern bourgeois life is that it has become so dreadfully mundane and mediocre, the most that any of us can expect is for things to trundle on in the search for eternal comfort and ease without regard for what we are even meant to do with the time given to us to live on Earth. Few believe in the existence of fairies or sprites because they are not material beings, and so they cannot exist because they do not inhabit the same material plain as we do (Midgard is the ‘Middle Earth’., betwixt the heavens and the underworld and surrounded by the Otherworld). The result is that our environment becomes nothing special to us, it provides useful resources in the form of raw materials and space to build more habitations; but it isn’t seen to have any independent or intelligent agency of its own, and many are still confused as to why things exist in the forms that they do and what we are meant to do with them.

There are few reasons why our economic system that is based on continuous expansion (a concept so absurd is is frightening to think that so many in power take it seriously) would consider the loss of biological life to be less important than human demands, and also the fact that all reigning political and social ideologies place humans above the Earth and not on it. For this, we have the lasting influence of the Abrahamic religions to thank, as the commandment by ‘Yaweh’ to “be fruitful and multiply” did not stress the importance of population control and the consequences of ‘giving’ the Earth to humans. We cannot be ‘given’ the Earth as we are a part of it, and we are dependent on each other’s survival. We would not exist if Nature did not think us suitable to evolve to this level, and if we were not expected to fulfil our duties and responsibilities to maintaining balance on the planet.

The direct connection that we have with Nature is one of the reasons why ideologies that place human ideals above the laws of Nature consistently fail when put into practice, because they do not consider what is required to maintain a healthy ecosystem and that it is only within this framework that a society can survive long-term. Understanding our influence on our environment is essential to functioning in the real world and requires the humility of seeing your own needs as just as important as other life around you. This is known as ‘deep ecology’, which stresses the need to assess our impact on life around us and to reduce not only our own comfort and excessively high standards of living, but also to think about the importance of particular organisms and their purpose in the environment. Every life form belongs somewhere, even hated creatures such as wasps or spiders are essential to their own sphere of existence, which requires predation on flies and other insects to control their population. Animals such as rats or ants only become a problem and breed in excessive numbers if humans have radically altered the environment in a way that does not accommodate animals with more niche requirements, and they simply survive on the waste left by humans, which is now very excessive. Some issues are uncomfortable to discuss an many are so detached from Nature that they don’t wish to deal with things like pollution from the production of plastics or the amount of human waste that ends up in the sea because there is nowhere else to dump it that doesn’t cause disease (at least in the mean time).

Environmentalism has become sadly associated with socialist values, and many ‘Green’ parties have embraced such ideas to the point where they seem more important than actually dealing with our ecological crisis. They, unfortunately have the tendency to espouse ‘social ecology’, which (as you can probably tell from the word ‘social’) is an attempt to bring the environment in line with our perceived needs. The idea that we can maintain the same standard of living while also reducing our destructive impact on our world is another idealistic and unrealistic perspective on the environment. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will not reduce our excessive demand for energy, for which governments seem content to subsidize corporations to build even more roads and infrastructure for the sake of very inefficient ‘green energy’ technology (such as windfarms and hydroelectric dams). The political response is completely skewed towards meeting this demand, and the difference is only whether we should primarily rely on fossil fuels or not.

Modern values are also not consistent with Natural Law, in that they do not consider laws which are not made by man and cannot accommodate the problems that result from introducing and exterminating certain species from an ecosystem.While some foreign species can be introduced with little harm to the native flora and fauna (such as beech and maple trees and fallow deer), this is usually because they also come from a similar ecosystem, which may or may not be nearby. However, plants such as rhododendron from the Mediterranean and and animals like grey squirrels from North America have had a devastating impact on the British ecosystem, as they compete so fiercely with the native inhabitants to ensure their own survival in a foreign environment, they end up taking over and decreasing biodiversity. If humans are at least part animal (providing the possibility that we are also divine), then that also means that we are subject to Nature’s laws and the interactions between different human populations can mirror those between native and invasive species, if peoples with incompatible cultures are introduced to the wrong environment.

Such issues are uncomfortable to address in such a repressed society, where people’s personal sensitivities are held above objective truth. There is also no equality in Nature, and each being is possessed of its own capabilities which enable it to compete with other organisms. If you remove this then you are left with a monoculture, where only a few select species exist in large numbers are there is less biodiversity. Ignoring problems does not make them go away, and the consequences of our hubris are building over time. It is unfortunate that Modern society has made the masses weak and ignorant to their surroundings, as this will only mean that catastrophe will be something unexpected and impossible to deal with for those who don’t know what is coming. As with personal emotions that create a shadow if they are not accepted to be a part of oneself (which embodies all that is rejected and becomes larger if ignored), the waste from nuclear power, plastic production, cleaning chemicals, humans and their food will create a fertile environment for disease, which always spreads quicker in overpopulated areas, and the human species could see a near extinction event.

This is a result of our own collective neglect and loss of spiritual values, as we struggle to find meaning in a Hell which we have created for ourselves because we have lost our connection with Nature. I’m sorry to say that most of our problems will not be fixed by focusing on reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ to counter ‘climate change’ and the practice of recycling. At this point, the best thing one can do is to focus on reducing your own living standards (which is not the same as what we might associate with the Third World, but rather a cleaner and more autonomous lifestyle that reduces general consumption) and work with others who are doing the same. The sad fact about environmentalism is that it cannot save all of the people on the planet and also restore the balance of the environment. This is why the wishes of ‘humanitarian’ philosophies will always be at odds with Natural Law and the equilibrium that we are supposed to uphold.

Thankfully, continuing our quest of insight into the world around us will guide us through dark times, and Nature will be kinder to those who understand what she requires from us. This does not mean that learning to live in harmony with Nature will make you immune to any of the disasters and plagues that exist in the world, but an autonomous lifestyle will help to deal with such events. Survivalism and self-reliance are the most useful ideals when learning to live naturally, as this enables you to be responsible for yourself, but also more free like a wild animal. ‘Wildness’ is simply ecological maturity, it is the point at which an organism comes into its own and is instinctively able to determine its place within the world around it after growing up. The self-domestication of mankind has led to our infantalization and many of us are still too immature to deal with reality well into old age.The age of the ‘suffering god’ (Christ on the cross or Wotan on the tree) has ended and we have come into a time that requires a different outlook.

Instead of the loss of honour that has affected our species for thousands of years, we can now reclaim that lost glory as we recognise the importance of who we are and where we are from. Heritage is not only our connection to our ancestors and our folk, but also to the land that we live on. Once we can again imagine the world we inhabit as both wonderful and horrible, material and spiritual and full of both loss and joy, we can regain our power to act with dignity and respect to our Great Mother. Her lessons will be harsh and it will inevitably become a matter of survival of the fittest, in ways physical, mental and spiritual. An awareness of the causes of disease and of cures that can be found in the wild fulfils our needs for interaction and communion with Nature and also enables us to protect ourselves and our families against the forces of death and destruction. To live without a fear of death is the way of the warrior, and this code of behaviour is our best chance of survival if we wish to maintain the prosperity of our folk.

Wulf Willelmson

2 thoughts on “‘Deep Ecology’ and Our Place in Nature”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s