To save ourselves, we must get back to nature

Letter from Eugene Tay Tse Chuan, Straits Times Forum 25 Dec 07;

THERE is something wrong with our culture, which more or less forces us to destroy the planet in order to live. What is wrong with our culture?

One, we see ourselves as separate from nature. In fact, we think we are superior to nature. We take what we want from nature and change nature to suit us. We forgot we are nature and only one species out of millions that inhabit this planet.

Two, we do not follow the rules of nature. Because we think we are separate from nature, we conclude that we are not subject to its rules. The rules of nature evolved over millions of years and suit the biodiversity of life on this planet. The rules work because they have survived the test of time. The rules of nature include:

Resources instead of waste. There is no waste in nature and by-products become resources for others.

Competition but no extermination. Nature kills and eats to survive, and not to destroy others for the sake of power and absolute control.

Diversity and no one best way to live or do things. There is diversity of life, and nature does not force others to live one way of life or allow one species to rule.

Adaptation but no exploitation. Nature adapts and uses what is available. It does not use more than it needs and does not force others to produce more.

Three, we created our own rules. Because we do not follow the rules of nature, we invented our own rules. Our rules include:

More is better. We define success by having more money and stuff.

Win or lose. We want the best for ourselves.

Focus on means and not meaning. We focus on money and stuff (means) and not what we achieve with money and stuff (meaning such as happiness and health).

Short-sightedness. We do things without considering the consequences on nature and future generations, and ignore problems that do not occur in the near future.

To stop our destruction and save ourselves, we must first change what we believe in our culture. When our beliefs change, a new culture will appear and our actions will be for the better. We must believe this: Learn what works in nature and do what is good for nature because we are nature.