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Balancing human ecology in nature niches

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Bread and water are not enough. More is expected of me beyond simply extracting bread and water from the landscape. Nature stewardship is expected that builds a healthy future for my immediate family and my family lineage 2000 years hence. We move too slowly with responsible behavior, by frequently placing personal desires above society’s sustainability. Balancing “Me first” behavior with “Society First” is a significant challenge.

A social, economic, ecological triple bottom line seeks to balance personal and social behavior. Finding balance is difficult. Many people only consider immediate personal economic interests without balance for social and ecological needs that sustain society.

Our political culture has three major factions with Democrats leaning toward “Society First,” Republicans leaning toward “Me first,” and Independents trying to pick and choose from both to sustainable balance that serves all members of society. Of course, we have left and right wing extremists that are dividing our society instead of building consensus and fairness for the rights of all. That of course is an over simplification but space does not permit exhaustive analysis for this paragraph or those following. The column offers opportunity for self-reflection for how we live with nature and others.

Religious cultures strive toward ideals perceived by spiritual leaders that lived long before us. In college cultural geography, I learned religions place the brakes on change, while science knowledge hastens change. The two World Views are valuable for providing checks and balances that ideally promote change, while maintaining a sustainable future, without relinquishing practices that keep society functional socially, economically, and ecologically.

The US constitution ideally ensures individual freedoms balanced with rights, for all members of society. Science and religion can balance maintenance of ecological integrity of “Eden,” by tempering our freedom of choice to take from creation, without regard for future generations or others rights. I suggest we should strive to secure personal needs, without excessive desires that disrupt ecological niches required for future generations. Both religion and science are used to preserve Creation’s biodiversity but they are also used to take from Creation’s biodiversity, without restraint or concern for others and future sustainability.

Religions frequently serve political agendas instead focusing on spiritual ideals. This has resulted in factions that have become major religions and various denominations within religions. It is the role of the individual to discover a healthy spiritual relationship with the Creator that balances personal desires beyond one’s needs, with sustainability of Earth’s biodiversity for future generations.

Science seeks cause and effect discoveries, without the influence of human desires or outcomes, and restricts itself to using physical evidence. Use of scientific discoveries depends on society, not science, to determine social, economic, and ecological values and then use them appropriately. It is the role of society to balance personal desires, with sustainability for future generations without relinquishing the future to personal wants or greed beyond the needs for those living at present.

The human species is unique in being able to perceive past, present, and future implications, for how our behavior in nature niches affects future generations. If we behave in a manner that keeps future biodiversity secure, a sustainable environment will also meet immediate family needs and we achieve success. A problem results when our desires infringe on the health of our future generations and other species. Excessive desires and habitat destruction are similar to taking forbidden fruit from Eden.

World Views should seek balance among the triple bottom line for social/economic/environmental sustainability.

When we lose species such as bees and birds that support ecological integrity, we lose future potential for building family hopes and dreams in present and future generations.

Our values are directly connected to the land we call home (soil, plants, insects, and vertebrates). We have little understanding of ecology in our yards, or what is responsible behavior for future generations. Learning to live in healthy nature niches is essential for sustaining family life in the present and the future.

Sustainability of biodiversity depends on maintaining healthy nature in our yards, community, state, nation, and the world.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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One Response to “Balancing human ecology in nature niches”

  1. Robert Landbeck says:

    “Our values are directly connected to the land we call home” yet there would not be an environmental crisis if within the human condition there was some principle of sustainability. And there’s the rub! One can only conclude that whatever our aspirations may be, our species exists as a corruption of the natural order, with limitations of ethical and spiritual potential and the necessary primary insights of knowledge, tied to a materialist evolutionary root. We have only enough knowledge to acknowledge what a destructive species we are. Everything else is hubris and chasing after wind!




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