Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Living with Nature

In this age of environmental degradation, resource depletion, and unparalleled human population explosion, how can man live and find meaning in their lives with nature?

Dr Anselmo S. Cabigan, PhD
Former Professor, St. Paul University QC, and
Former Director, National Food Authority

Living with nature built character and helped men find meaning in their lives. Moses walked through the desert and found his commission at the burning bush. John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and preached repentance, sustained by locusts and honey. Jesus of Nazareth spent days in the wilderness and came out committed to the way of the cross. Saul of Tarsus waited for marching orders in his garden from a Master whose followers he once persecuted. Charles Darwin took a peek into evolution while sailing along the shores or South America and into the Galapagos. George Washington Carver parlayed with his Creator in the forest and gave the world its first taste of peanut butter.
Once upon a time, nature was pristine, undefiled, and unspoiled. We used to live in a dreamlike world of tropical virgin forests, and pure hidden springs, calm ponds, and serene lakes with majestic purple mountains, crowned with canopied trees. That was when people took only what they needed, caught only what they ate, and lived only in constant touch with a provident earth.
Dr Cabigan with rare species of bamboo, Tagaytay City

Nature eventually succumbed to human exploitation and was sacrificed in the altar of greed. Her bowels were desecrated for minerals and oil, and her verdance raped for timber and paper. The face of earth was scraped for agriculture and housing projects, and her waters poisoned and mercilessly gagged with garbage. Man choked the air with pollutants and dumped garbage on the oceans. Meanwhile the earth’s species were hunted to extinction, and her forests burned with billowing smoke, so massive, it is visible from the surface of the Moon.

In this age of environmental degradation, resource depletion, and unparalleled human population explosion, how can man live and find meaning in their lives with nature?

Very common people, in very common settings, with very simple objects, now tell us how to keep in touch with nature. For instance we rejoice in the bounty of leafy vegetables growing on discarded tires, sustained with compost from a city dump. We also find relief from a burning fever through a cup of lagundi tea, or savor broiled catfish fattened at a backyard pond. Sometimes, we painfully ponder the fate of a dog headed for slaughter, or grieve at the gnarled skeleton of a dead tree, or awe in at the metamorphosis of a cicada, or immersed in the lilting laughter of children at play.

The following episodes speak of very common people, in very common settings with very simple objects, finding meaning in their lives. The Living with Nature Handbook speaks of us and to us.

(Author’s Note: Dr Anselmo S. Cabigan and the author are very close friends, having studied for their doctorate degrees. They share many things in common, both in their personal lives and professions. Both are naturalists, gentlemen farmers, executives of the government, and college professors. It is most fitting for one, as close to the author as Dr. Cabigan is to speak about the book on his friend’s behalf.)

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