“We have to shift our attitude of ownership of nature to relationship with nature. The moment you change from ownership to relationship, you create a sense of the sacred.” Satish Kumar

The environment represents the whole ecosystem that a society depends upon for various resources such as water, food, and energy. The combination of this large natural ecosystem, society and the economy is called a socio-ecological system.

For a long time, the environment has been a plentiful resource, self-equilibriating and self-sustaining to provide everything for human existence and flourishing. to propel human growth - whether it’s in forests, fresh water or deep below the earth surface.  

However, with radical socio-economic changes like the Industrial Revolution, human economic activity has accerelated. The spawned population growth, huge increases in energy consumption and the erosion of biodiversity. Geologists refer to this new era as the Anthropocene. The key hallmark of this area is that humans have become the most powerful dictators of the natural ecosystem, meaning our activity heavily infleunces the capacity of the natural eocsystem to self-sustain.

With agricultural productivity increasing, there was less need for farmers to remain in villages. Through this migration, the  connectivity with the natural ecosystem - which is still so prevalent in indegenous cultures -  was lost. Instead, it has been replaced by limitless economic activity, and the objectification of nature.

Can we learn from Indigenous cultures across the world and their relationship with nature? For centuries, these so called ‘backward’ communities, have continued to set an example by having a deep-rooted relationship with nature, respecting the land and seeing the ecosystem as sacred.

As humble researchers, can we examine the human connection with the environment in an ever more complex world?

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