Let’s say it’s complicated.
Have you ever stopped to think about what our relationship is with the natural world around us? How we work together symbiotically?
For me, it is something that I constantly ponder about because I am curious as to how we are all connected, not only to one another but to species that thrive in different environments than us.
During our time at our last excursion in a subtropical rainforest we had the honor of being led by Barry Davies, a naturalist and bird watcher enthusiast who spoke about the history and livelihood of the rainforest and its inhabitants.
Many refer to the rainforest as Lamington National Park but others know it as Wangerriburra Park which Barry told us to translates to a peaceful place. I personally like Wangerriburra because it is true to its translation in every sense of the way.
The park was full of life; plants, insects and wildlife all call it home. Some have inhabited it for as many as 1500 years such as my new favorite tree, Bigfoot. And others for 20 years such as the famous tree funnel web spider known as Morticia who unfortunately was too cold to come out and greet us.
In Australia, rainforests are protected and cannot be cleared. Thank goodness! Like us, forests are complex and vulnerable. Changes can and do affect them drastically as do changes for us. Currently, a big change it is facing is the changing climate as are other ecosystems.
When we experience changes no matter how big or small we react to it in a positive or negative way. Most ecosystems as we have learned on this trip are unfortunately negatively influenced by the ongoing changes to the atmosphere.
Our relationship with the natural world around us comes into play here. We depend on our natural resources and sometimes take it for granted. Simply put, we need oxygen to survive and plants give us that, in turn we release carbon dioxide thus forming a relationship with them. Other natural resources we use and sometimes overlook the importance of is water, wood, oil, animals and plants.
Because forests like other ecosystems are vulnerable to many things we must be mindful of what it is we are doing with the resources they provide us to not fully strip them away and cause damage.
Although plants depend on carbon dioxide we are emitting too much and are also releasing other gasses which are detrimental to the success of flora and the fauna. This makes our relationship with our natural world shaky, scary, unpredictable and overall complicated.
But it is still a symbiotic relationship therefore we must try our best to make it as nurturing as possible to where both parties gain something rather than lose.
Something Barry said that resounded in me was that it is not unusual for the trees in the forests to be hollow because so many things act against them. It broke my heart. When one little things acts against us it leaves us feeling something within ourselves, sometimes emptiness.
As custodians of this planet we should take action to make the environment thrive rather than die. Because in a relationship where we depend on it, if it dies out, so do we.