Nature and Spirituality

Question: How does nature fit into a good life?

Carl Pope: I wouldn’t advise you to try living without it. You wouldn’t last very long. The fact is the services that make the planet habitable are provided for us by several million species all making their own living in their own way. The difference . . . There’s actually . . . Somebody this weekend was saying . . . I can’t remember who it was now. But the Earth and Venus in many ways are very similar. They’re about the same size. They each have about the same amount of carbon in their planetary system. Big difference is on earth most of the carbon is sequestered underground, and the temperature is about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. In Venus all of the carbon is out in the atmosphere, and the temperature is about 850 degrees Fahrenheit. Primates . . . People, even chimpanzees cannot sequester a single ounce of carbon dioxide in their lives. The only thing that can is little animals like the ones in the ocean; grasses; plants. We are absolutely dependent . . . Every time we burn fossil fuel, the only reason most of it gets sequestered is that living creatures provide these services for us. So we are a part – and we’re by and large and not a contributory part – of this incredible planetary balance wheel that works together to make Earth not Venus. So nature is incredibly important. It also happens to be incredibly beautiful, but I think we get confused. It’s not important because it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s important. The reason we like it is because in an evolutionary sense it’s what keeps us alive. We are hard wired to respect and love our parents because they keep us alive. And we are hard wired to respect and love nature because nature keeps us alive.

 

Recorded on: September 27, 2007.

 

 

 

You would't last long without nature, says Pope.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less