We have lived with a catastrophic myth for a long time. We have believed that we live outside nature. Derek Lynch writes:
Globally, we have entered the Anthropocene, with humans the dominant force driving change in all ecosystems. Through our overwhelming influence on the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, no ecosystem anywhere is sheltered from our influence.
Whether it be through colonial redistribution of species, habitat loss, the diverse forces of climate change, overextraction or pollution by plastics, forever chemicals, and reactive nitrogen and phosphorus, there is no unaltered ecosystem. As some of these forces of change combine, ecosystems are being pushed past tipping points of collapse at a faster rate.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of reverse zoonosis, in which humans became the reservoir and source of infection for domesticated and wild animals, emphasized how the fate of humanity and all creatures sharing the biosphere is linked.
There is a new vision rising:
Ecologists are recognizing that “othering” the natural world is meaningless, and the study of natural processes has to include those modified by humankind. Indeed, the idea of ourselves as distinct from all non-humans is considered by some to be the fundamental driver of our current planetary crisis.
Given such deepening understanding, is it now the time to go beyond “nature” as a concept external to humanity? Instead, we could promote a deeper understanding of biodiversity and community as the shared long history and future fate both of humanity and of non-human life.
Such revised paradigms are closer to Indigenous viewpoints of community, in which land management is conducted in partnership with our relatives within all ecosystems.
Will this new paradigm save us? That's the big question.