If We Can’t Save The Earth From Climate Change, Maybe Nature Can

Nothing dollarable is safe, however guarded – John Muir

Nature’s gift of springtime brings hope.

Yet, based on reports of extreme weather in the western U.S., the future feels anything but hopeful.

We might feel as if climate change is already causing destruction. It’s been prophesied that we are already past the point of return.

But maybe there is still hope.

Some recent and other not-too-old media offerings have reinvigorated me. I think you may find them helpful, too.

The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf

I’m not gonna lie. This book took me a couple of years to finish.

It’s not because it is slow or dry. It’s because the book is crammed with information. Also, I tend to read nonfiction in fits and stops, with fiction dispersed in between.

The Invention of Nature describes one scientist’s travels and ideas so vividly that I was constantly interrupting my reading to flip to maps or look up a location or species on the internet.

Wulf’s purpose in writing this book, I think, is to reacquaint us with the importance of understanding and appreciating nature.

She takes us back to the life of a scientist of the mid-1800s who was once considered the world’s leading scholar of environmentalism. His name was Alexander Von Humboldt.

His ideas of the interconnectedness of all life directly influenced Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel, David Thoreau, William Wordsworth, and John Muir, to name just a few.

Humboldt’s travels and his subsequent views on topics such as climate change, interdependence, the enslavement of humans, and biodiversity are discussions we continue today.

Wulf meticulously recreates Humboldt’s world and ideas. Her recreation shows that life on Earth in all its diverse forms is exciting and inspiring. We only need to turn off the tech and walk out the door.

“The Serengeti Rules” (Nature S38 Ep2 available free on pbs.org/show/nature/)

An illustration of a buck white-tailed deer walking through woods and tall grass.

I don’t normally watch Nature on PBS but having just finished The Invention of Nature, and being laid up due to some dental issues, I decided to give the episode “The Serengeti Rules” a go.

Glad I did.

This film was released in 2017 and received numerous awards. It dramatically illustrates how removing key species from an ecosystem can result in the degradation of that system.

If that sounds boring to you, I assure you it’s not. If nothing else, the cinematography is beautiful.

The topic also hits close to home.

Specifically, we can see how the elimination of “primary” or “apex” predators from our Northeastern woods and forests has led to a dramatic decline in species of both plants and animals due to overgrazing by the exploding white-tailed deer population.

One of the most intriguing scenes involves the transportation and release of wild dogs into an ecosystem razed by overgrazing.

You’ll see time-lapse photography of the changes that ensue. It is fascinating.

This film will also give you hope that, if we allow it to do its thing, Nature itself can save our planet.

Fantastic Fungi (on Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube)

The fungi offer color and pattern.
The fungi offer color and pattern.

Continuing with my rehabilitation in front of the TV, Netflix added this recommendation to my feed. “Fantastic Fungi” is a documentary about, well, fungi.

I haven’t watched many documentaries on Netflix, so I was intrigued.

Also, I recently embarked on a mission to improve my health by feeding my gut biome and perhaps stimulating my neurologic functioning by eating mushrooms. (Did Netflix somehow know this?!)

Well, this film is another award winner and a visual stunner. I’d say it’s even more beautiful than “The Serengeti Rules.”

The only thing weird in this film is the voice used as if the fungi were speaking directly to the viewer. That just didn’t fit the vibe.

Otherwise, this is an amazing story about the “fifth” kingdom on our planet.

The narrative traces the beginnings of fungi on Earth, the misconceptions and fears that some cultures hold against fungi, the value of this life form in modern healthcare, and the role fungi may play in our planet’s future.

The film’s message is inspiring and hope-filled. In short, it’s a perfect way to welcome spring.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy “A Wildflower Scavenger Hunt” and wildflower articles and photography under the category “Gardening” on this website.

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Author: A. JoAnn

Here is where I share the beauty I find in everyday life; and the humor, too!

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