Ecology: A Return to Our Roots
Dec 29, 2023

Between modern ecology and our ancestral wisdom, the ecological revolution of the 21st century might well be a call to rediscover the universal connection between humanity and the natural world, an invitation to reconnect with our roots for a future marked by respect and responsibility towards the living world.

Modern discourse often frames ecology as a 21st-century revolution, yet a glance at indigenous cultures and our ancestors unveils a worldview deeply rooted in a reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Long before “ecology” became commonplace, these societies maintained and still maintain interdependent and reciprocal bonds with all of the wild nature.

In a past and within cultures where humans were not merely external observers but remembered themselves as integral members of this vast web of Life. A perspective imbued with respect, reciprocity, and responsibility towards future generations guided their interactions with the natural world.

The concepts of kinship, often expressed through totemism, play a central role. These interspecies, timeless, and multidimensional connections involve specific responsibilities such as protecting and maintaining the ecological balance of a place or bioregion. Thus, animals, elements, or even plants were not merely resources but members of the family and community, with whom humans maintained complex and interdependent relationships. Experiences and relationships lived through the body, heart, and senses attest to the sacredness of all life.

Today, as Western societies continue to view the natural world as merely a resource for humanity’s benefit, there is a shift towards more sustainable approaches to environmental management. Is this an innovation or a return to our roots?

The animistic values present in many cultures today invite us to hear the echoes of our distant ancestors. Exploring and feeling again the depths of these relationships with the wild world may be the key to understanding and reclaiming our rightful place in the world and forging a future where empathy, reciprocity, and responsibility towards the Living once again guide our actions. Ultimately, perhaps the ecological revolution of the 21st century is a call to reconnect with the ancestral wisdom that resides within us and has allowed our species and all others to live in balance until our recent history.

More in my book…