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Practising Reciprocity with Nature

As humans, particularly those of us in the Global North, we often take from Nature without giving back. We consume resources, pollute the environment, and disrupt ecosystems often without considering the long-term consequences of our actions. 

This kind of thinking is unsustainable and has already led to countless species extinctions, climate breakdown and a complete disconnect from the natural world. A disconnect that allows and even encourages us to forget we are Nature. If we want to ensure a habitable planet for future generations and live in alignment with our core selves, we need to adopt a mindset of reciprocity with Nature.

What is Reciprocity with Nature?

Reciprocity is a state of mutual exchange and benefit. Concerning Nature, it means giving back to the environment as much as we take from it. This can take many forms, from reducing our carbon footprint to supporting conservation efforts and reconnecting with the natural world. 

Here are just a few steps we can take to become more reciprocal with Nature:

1. Reduce Waste: This is what people generally think when we talk about living more sustainably. It means using less energy, consuming fewer resources, and minimising our environmental impact. You'll have heard these examples a million times before. Still, they include using reusable bags, bottles, and containers, buying products made from sustainable materials, re-using or buying second-hand, considering how you travel, or choosing energy-efficient appliances. 

It's easy to think our individual actions don't mean much, but not only do the choices we make every day have an impact, but they force you to consider and question the status quo of exploiting our natural "resources".

Our journey to reciprocity begins when we do our best to choose wisely and ethically.

2. Support Conservation Efforts: Another way to give back to Nature is to support and get involved with environmental causes you believe in. From volunteering at a local park or beach to donating to TreeSisters, there are so many different ways you can use your time and money to give back, make a real difference, and feel profoundly connected to your environment! 

3. Harness Your Influence: Many of us (potentially without even knowing it) will have banking, pensions, or relationships with companies or agriculture with investments or working practices that contribute to deforestation and poor tree health. When customers demand that companies take action on deforestation in their supply chains and work, it can have a huge impact and influence. You can see where your service providers rank on websites such as Forest 500 or ShareAction and tell them if they want to keep you as a customer, you want change. 

4. Practice Sustainable Agriculture and Consider your Food Sources: Agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, forest clearings and environmental degradation.

There are ways to practice or participate in agriculture sustainably, including buying organic, eating more plant-based meals, and purchasing seasonally and locally where possible. In our capitalist world, where we spend our money is a powerful way to practise what we preach. By considering where your food comes from, how far it has travelled and its impact on both the environment and other species, we can make choices that lessen cruelty and help protect the environment.

5. Connect with Nature: Cultures that respect plants and animals and see the natural world as teachers understand and relate with "biodiversity" beyond the standard Western educational mindset. This connection to the Earth community is innate in all humans and our birthright. 

If all of this sounds a bit "out there", don't worry; you can start by simply taking a walk in the park, going on a hike, or spending time being present in your garden. Make time for the sound of rustling leaves and observing the ripples in a pond. See the dew-kissed spider's web in the morning sun or hear ocean waves lapping against the shore. As you work on your Nature connection muscle, it will get stronger. For now, just remember to occasionally stop, take a breath, and practise noticing and immersing yourself in the world around you. The beauty of Nature is everywhere when you pause to look. Embrace the world.

We understand that when so much damage is being done by a few immensely powerful oligarchs and corporations, It can sometimes feel like our actions don't matter. Yet many tiny drops will eventually form an incredible ocean.

When you see the natural world as having the same inherent rights to live and thrive as you or I or view our rivers, fungi, and trees as teachers rather than objects to visit or exploit, your perspective on the world will shift. If we can't rely on corporations or world governments to make the necessary changes, we must stand up and be accountable and aligned with our actions and values. So many of us believe in another way and that we can and should live differently in our incredibly biodiverse, beautiful world. Together, we are powerful.

By trying to give back as much as we take, we can help not only protect the natural world but also reconnect with the Nature inside us all.

Become a monthly donor and join our global movement towards reconnecting and realigning with Nature.

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