Should everyone love nature?

  • by

2013-07-14 20.15.13It’s been another hot day. Another day of sitting around, drinking cold drinks and trying not to move too much. So we decided to take another evening cycle ride, this time to Wollaton Park.

We locked up our bikes and went for a walk round the gardens, as CCTV cameras, hidden amongst the flower beds, followed us. The sun was low in the sky and the trees were glowing with soft, yellow light. Again, it felt somehow intrinsically good to be in “nature”.

We found a bench in front of the Hall with a view out across the park and I watched in awe as swifts flew low across the grass in front of us. There were lots of couples and groups of friends sitting on the hill that slopes down from the Hall. As my attention turned to them I thought to myself, how could anyone not like this? How could anyone prefer the city to this?

2013-07-14 20.14.43

And just as suddenly I had a moment of realisation – maybe it doesn’t matter. I like cycling. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I love it. Its what I spend most of my free time doing. I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could dislike cycling. But that doesn’t mean I worry endlessly about the fact that there are people who don’t enjoy cycling. It doesn’t bother me in the way that people not liking nature bothers me. I suppose the two aren’t completely analogous, since people not liking, or caring, about nature has more serious consequence (although more people cycling instead of driving wouldn’t be a bad thing!).

But perhaps I shouldn’t worry so much. Perhaps it isn’t my job to convert everyone. Perhaps there are people who love cities and worry about the fact that are people who don’t love them. Despite professing to be an urban nature writer, I think I’ve been associating liking cities to a wholesale rejection of nature. But I wonder how city lovers would feel if every tree, patch of grass and flower were removed from their city. Would they notice and would it make a difference? I’m betting it would.

I’m an urban nature writer because I don’t believe in the city/nature divide. So it is odd really that I’ve clung on to this fear about city lovers vs. nature lovers. Maybe it doesn’t matter if there are people who don’t share how I feel about nature.

I’d be interested to know what others think. Should everyone love nature?

2013-07-14 20.15.00

0 thoughts on “Should everyone love nature?”

  1. I think that we should be more reflective of the heritage of nature. I mean that we hear a lot about building heritage and being ‘guardians of the building’ as opposed to owning it, so why not have the same approach to nature and land ‘ be aware that we cannot own it but we are protecting it for the future.

  2. I vote yes. Everyone should love nature. I am thinking here of nature as something like ecosystem, or Gaia, in the way that James Lovelock used that metaphor. It is what we are part of, what we are made of.

    I think cities do show a lack of love for nature, even while they too are part of it. They show a disregard for the ecosystem and its life and geography, or else they show the dark side of nature itself expressed through and in our cities. And yet, I love cities too. I guess I love their energy and creativity, even while it is to wilderness, especially on mountains, that I turn to find the center of the world and a mystery deeper than I can find in a city.

    I sympathize with your exploration of urban nature by bicycle. My wife I do that too, in the city’s parks, beside its lakes and on its mountains, here in southern California.

    It is equally hard to imagine anyone not loving bicycling. It seems to produce an idyllic rush of adrenaline and endorphins.

    I am glad to have found your blog.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I suppose in a sense I do want everyone to love nature and I wish everyone shared my passion for it. But at the same time I suppose I was pondering whether I should get so worked up about it and at the same time wondering whether it’s really possible for someone not to love nature in some form or other. As I say, would city lovers really love their city without its trees and flowers. Even in cities it is impossible to completely escape nature and in fact it is nature’s resilience in urban areas that fascinates me.

      It’s interesting what you say about the energy of cities. I read an interview with writer and cartographer Tim Robinson recently, in which he said that he thought he could apply the energy of cities to the countryside, in order to re-invigorate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.