|gaining a deeper understanding of our place in ecology|
I do think, however, that a deeper understanding of our place in the ecology of the world can help those who seek to help the afflicted or those who work to mitigate the ills of our society.
I do believe that understanding natural relationships, processes, evolution and life cycles really helps us make informed decisions. A close, careful, or even casual, study of physical processes in nature helps us to think hypothetically, to anticipate the future and plan for it. When we think of ourselves as part of the life of the planet, not apart from it, we can't help but see ourselves in relation to the rest of the population. It is my opinion that understanding yourself as an animal, subject to the same principles that rule animal and plant life the world over, helps you to see yourself as a human in relation to other humans. You begin to see your own connection not only to folks on the other side of the world, but to the folks who live next door, those who might live very differently than you do, and yet you share this big common thing of trying to exist on the planet.
Check this out:
"The Amazon basin is one of the world's wondrous ecosystems, supporting massive amounts of life, both in kind and quantity. You might have thought about poison frogs or monkeys, but you've probably never stopped to wonder, "Where are all the nutrients that power this biotic explosion coming from?"
The answer is actually astonishing and delightful in that one-planet-one-love kind of way. As laid out in a 2006 paper that science writer Colin Schultz dug up, nearly half of the nutrients that power the Amazon come from a valley in the Sahara called the Bodélé depression."
Those America-sized dust storms in the Sahara then push the nutrients half way round the world to grow that "biotic explosion" (all those plants and animals) in the rain forest. And you know what? The plant and animal life in turn eventually become the silt that the Amazon itself washes out into the ocean and that silt gets pushed around the world again, fostering new life in the oceans. And that life works up the food chain and out of the sea, eventually to us and our open mouths (fish meal is a main food source, or fertilizer for the food source, for a lot of the stuff we eat). And then, eventually, we, let's face it, end as dust (or food). Dust to dust. We get all that great pharma from the rain forest and we get fed to boot, because we are an inextricable link in a chain of events that does not necessarily begin or end with us. Humbling, isn't it?
So here we are, connected. America holds China's hand economically. The latest reports from Kenya suggest that at least one of the terrorists may be a Minnesotan. I'm sure I buy clothes that are made in Bangladesh. Every day, we send our kids off to schools that look a lot like Sandy Hook, but we pray that they have one important difference. And what, pray tell, does any of this have to do with nature education and young children? Well, to my mind, if people grow-up understanding their relationship to the rest of the world, and each other, if that is always at the forefronts of our minds, if that is a foregone conclusion, something we don't have to struggle to teach anymore, then we are that much more capable of getting along and solving problems together.
|Farmer Jenna shows off Dodge bees at work|
- bees need plants
- plants need bees
- animals need plants
- people need animals and plants
|bees in the frame: preschoolers consider the comb|
|preschoolers eat apples and watch wasps eat apples|
|worker bees and their liquid gold|
My colleague, Joey, suggests that bees may also offer outfits like JP Morgan some instructive lessons about sharing...JP Morgan may already know a thing or two about bees though. Did you know that bees will swarm a single wasp, or those they see as interlopers by suffocating them with their body heat alone? Socialism? Or "All the Kings Men?" You decide!