Sunday, January 4, 2009

10 Ways We Are Disconnected From Nature (And Why That Isn't Good)

As the US has increased it's wealth throughout all classes, especially over the last few generations, we have moved further and further away from nature. This isn't good. Here's why:
  1. Decades ago, before computers, video games, VCRs, and more than three channels on the TV, kids were encouraged to go outside and play. Actually "encouraged" isn't the was more like: kid "I'm bored", adult: "go outside and play". This conversation repeated itself a dozen times a day. When I was growing up, that was the standard answer no matter if the weather was 20 degrees or 110 degrees, just to keep the kids out of the way of the adults. Kids had to use their imaginations and make up their own sources of entertainment (stick ball, cowboys and Indians, hide and seek, etc) rather than having commercially created entertainment force fed to them on a 24/7 basis.

  2. I'm no scientist but it seems quite odd that so many kids these days have asthma and severe food allergies. When I was a kid, maybe one kid in an entire school has asthma and no one in the entire school had food allergies to things as common as eggs, peanut butter, shellfish, etc. Why is this? I don't see these problems in third world countries where the kids entertain themselves by playing in polluted water, eating everything even marginally edible, and spending the entire day from dawn to dusk outside.

  3. Many people in developed countries don't know how the steak they are eating gets to their plate. People literally "freak out" when they see an animal being butchered. Years ago this was, well, the way that food got on the table--deer hanging in the shed so it could bleed out, grandma wringing a chicken's neck so that it could become the evening's meal--it was just the way food was procured. If people suddenly had to start providing their own meat, who would be around to do this? Certainly not your average American.

  4. People cannot provide the most basic food stuffs for themselves. Victory Gardens, even in the smallest city lots, were quite common during the war. People knew that if they didn't raise their own fresh food, they may not get any. Fortunately during the war years, the people were not too far removed from the farm so gardening skills were still known. These days, if people had to grow their own food, I'm afraid many people would be ill prepared to do so.

  5. Kids (as well as older people in today's world) have missed out on the opportunity to develop self esteem by being successful at useful things. When kids bring back a string of fish and are praised by their elders for their skill and for providing food for the family, it build their self-worth. When a boy (or girl) gets a deer, tills acres of land, or helps bring a calf into the world, they have visible reminders of how useful and skillful they are. Without this connection to life, death, and hard physical work, the connection doesn't get made. IMHO this is why we have so many shiftless, depressed, trouble-making people in the world today--they haven't done anything to build their responsibility and self esteem.

  6. The world is too "safe" these days. Granted when you have a loved one lost in the wilderness, I'm sure being able to reach them by cell phone is immeasurably comforting, however years ago, people had to rely on themselves to find their way out of difficult situation, provide their own basic medical care, and send word anyway they could (I remember the ubiquitous paper plates with messages posted on them and nailed to trees in the wilderness as a way of providing information to others who were following).

  7. Wilderness skills are a lost art. Start a fire without matches, sheer a sheep and end up with a knitted sweater, find your way by the stars, snare a rabbit...the list of skills that one needs to be able do in order to provide for themselves is long, the number of people who could actually do such things these days is few. Sad.

  8. Nature is reality. It is cold, it is wet, it is beautiful, it is nature the only sure thing is change. Parked in front of a computer all day, you miss out on these things. One could literally stay inside for a year attached to a cell phone/computer/video game and miss all of the seasons, the changes in trees and flowers, the smell of fresh air, etc.

  9. Living close to nature requires a wide variety of skills. When I ask a farm kid what they can do I hear: rototilling, running the backhoe, taking care of the horses, gathering eggs, welding, building, roofing, and a myriad other skills. When I ask an average suburban kid what they can do, I hear very few things..."Can you cook?" "We eat out everyday". "What skills do you use during the day?" "Texting, email, chatting online..." "Can you find your way to the next city?" "My mom will drive me." Frightening.

  10. Nature is anything but dependable which means that people learn how to be flexible. Raining today? Stay inside and do sewing or reading or baking. Plant the corn today? It will grow at its own rate, you can't speed up nature, and you get to learn to be patient. Nature is fleeting. If it's sunny and the wheat is ready, it gets harvested today--you can't be lazy and put harvesting off until you feel ready to do it.

Now maybe these examples make the situation look much worse than it is, but being so far removed from nature can't be a good thing. As long as we live in an insulated, climate-controlled world when you can call for food to be delivered or you can simply shop for the things you need, I guess survivability of the masses will continue. However should TSHTF, having the skills to live in and with nature will be worth its weight in gold.


  1. I've often thought about this too, and wonder what these disconnected hordes will do come SHTF when the cell phones don't work, the food pipeline is disrupted, and the rumbling in their fat bellies becomes unbearable.

    Will they rise up enmass and take what they feel entitled to (including your preparedness cache), will they try to make their own food and shelter as needed, will they lay down on the sofa and sleep?

    I suspect many will do little if anything to help themselves, unless it involves helping themselves to other peoples property.

    First they will wait for government handouts, meanwhile doing little else. Then they will panhandle. Then they will take.

  2. Right on the money with this post, CNI. And ST is right on as well so far as I see it happening. The end result will be the horde causing others to become as they are: refugees.