We have indeed become strange beings so completely are we at odds with the planet that brought us into being. We dedicate enormous talent and knowledge and research to developing a human order disengaged from and even predatory on the very sources whence we came and upon which we depend at every moment of our existence. We initiate our children into an economic order based on exploitation of the natural life systems of the planet. To achieve this perspective we must first make them autistic in their relation with the natural world about them. This disconnection occurs quite simply since we ourselves have become insensitive toward the natural world and do not realize just what we are doing. Yet, if we observe our children closely in their early years and see how they are instinctively attracted to the experiences of the natural world about them, we will see how disorientated they become in the mechanistic and even toxic environment that we provide for them.
Alas this weekend was yet another weekend in which my kids became a little more “autistic in their relation with the natural world about them.” A cold drizzle falling outside, they stayed indoors and watched a string of Christmas movies on the television while I caught up on some school work and Belinda baked cookies. We made one major outing to a local outfitter to prepare for a ski trip later this week (yet another opportunity to buy more stuff). I suppose it wasn’t a bad weekend, all told, but weekends like this have a way of stringing themselves together into months and entire seasons. I realize with a shock that I’ve let an entire autumn slip by (my favorite season) without really getting outside with the boys for much more than their Saturday morning soccer games.
Berry’s assessment of us is dead on, I’m afraid. Is it any wonder that our culture cannot reach consensus around caring for the natural world? That we can reduce the environment to political abstraction? That we don’t react the same to ecological warnings as we would for potential threats to our families?