Even before my formal involvement in the Green Party of Alberta, dare I say all my life, I have always held an immense respect for nature.
I say this of course while being very honest about the fact that I am not a vegetarian, nor have I renounced all goods and services that involve using resources found in the natural world. In fact I can say that maintaining a respect for nature is much more profound than exclusively talking about resource management and exchange.
Sometimes its hard to get people to understand the aims of environmentalism and sustainability. Although some, myself included, find respect for our planet to be second nature, others find it an inconvenience or worse yet, irrelevant. Lately eco-groups have relied on captivating audiences with topics like the finite nature of our planet, or even the economic advantages of being green. Although these are not incorrect route or topics, I believe we must go further than that.
What I want to see is environmentalism to of course contain items like economy and resources, but also, I would like the discussion to not be so human centered. Of course some people won't listen unless their is something in the conversation that speaks to self interest. However, environmentalists should not forget that respect for nature involves empathy for nature.
This empathy, does not involve humans. Not their interests, not their needs, but simply, it is an acknowledgment of respecting nature for the sake of respecting it, rather than for nature to meet human needs in some way.
Although humans themselves are organisms who even in the comfort of their homes, interact with ecosystems in their direct vicinity or across the globe, We should learn to appreciate life and resources on their own. Some love to marvel at how "perfect" the planet is for human use, citing its resources or position from the sun. However I think their is value in marveling at how these things formed the way they did in the first place.
If we can start by talking about components of the planet or life for their beauty, wonder, and mystery, we can direct people to start asking questions of why these things were brought into creation in the first place. After the question is asked of why the world is here, we can then ask ourselves how humans as organisms fit in the world. Although answers to these questions will be philosophical and unique to whoever is asking, there will always be a revelation of the interconnection and importance of all life, and topics of resource management and economy will follow after.
People will always find more sophisticated answers if they can relate more profoundly with the topic at hand. Empathy for nature will yield more results in progressing environmentalism and sustainability than talking about resources ever will on its own.
Vote Marco Reid for Leader of the Green Party of Alberta,