I recently spent the day at a local school teaching the students about the fascinating world of owls. As I explained to a first grade class how owls eyes are different than most animals, including ours, a small voice in the front row blurted out the “we are not animals!” A bit thrown back by the sudden interruption I explained that we are a species of animal. “No… we’re humans” was the response. To avoid a long debate, I continued the program.
Shortly after, during a third grade presentation I was interrupted with the same comment. Trying to explain how we are mammals just like our dogs, cats or coyotes and that we fit into the kingdom of Animalia or animals, which contain the mammals, birds, reptiles and all the other animals, I was still not convincing enough for the young gentleman that insisted that we could not be like other animals.
After the long day of programs, I reflected back on these two disturbing comments. Is it our education system, parenting or society in general that has separated us from the natural world to such a point that we can’t see ourselves as related to the other animals.
Although we consider ourselves to have a higher intelligence than the other animals, when we delve into the world of biology we are very similar in structure. We are animals.
One of the focuses we have at Wild Spirit is to teach about the natural world around us. To instill a love for nature. We try to build a bond between the natural world and us. A bond that will hopefully strengthen to a point where we will feel like we are part of nature, which we are.
This separation from the natural world is like a disease that is spreading rapidly amongst our children and ourselves. This disease is serious and could be life threatening for our planet.
So how do we cure this separation? It’s as easy as getting out and communing with nature. Not just going for a hike in the woods, but understanding the woods. Listen to the trees as they sway in the breeze. Understand the connection of all the elements in the woods and then understand that we are part of that connection.
Once you have rebuilt your own connection with nature, take a friend, a child or a loved one into nature and help them to connect with it. Once we have all rebuilt the connection with the natural world, we may start to respect and take care of our fragile planet.
Let’s remember that we are like the rest of the animals.