Two weeks ago I was a guest on a BBC Radio Bristol programme that asks people to chose four dinner guests. Anyone is allowed; fact, fiction, dead or alive, as long as they have in someway influenced your life. One of my honoured guests was a cave woman, which caused comment, amusement and bemusement amongst friends, relatives and the presenter himself.
For me however it was an obvious choice. I have spent many hours wondering what it was like to live in an ice age. And what was it like to fundamentally recognise and understand that we are an integral part of the natural world. Everything those people would have done would have some way involved a deep understanding of nature and our place in it, from finding food to expressing their spiritual beliefs.
I don’t believe in the “noble savage” and I have no doubt life would have been harsh for many, but I would love to talk to someone who truly knew the meaning of interconnectedness. This is a word that has become so well used in the last few years, yet I wonder how many of us understand the depth of its meaning. But it is important that we do consider it, because without a re-assessment of what it is to be human in the 21st Century people may find the future increasingly difficult to handle.
ARC: www.arcworld.org is the only organisation I know of that aims to be a bridge between what we now view as two separate worlds – religion and conservation. I know my cavewoman dinner guest would have found that a strange idea. She would forcibly have told us that this divide is artificial; a manifestation of our modern and growing disconnect with the natural world around us. She would have told us, I think, that we can’t consider ourselves separate from plants, animals, rocks and water because we are an integral part of the functioning of this earth.
We are a piece of the pattern, a thread of the web that binds all things to each other; but somehow, somewhere along our short history, we have become to regard ourselves as different and apart. And somehow our spiritual beliefs have separated from nature too, leaving us to think of God in buildings and inner spirituality and not so much in nature and the world around us.
ARC is helping to bring these worlds together again, to help all major faiths rediscover their wonderful and wise teachings on our relationship to nature.
This blog is an edited version of an article written by Mary Colwell http://www.curlewmedia.com for the UK Methodist Women’s Network as they prepare their own Seven Year Plan.