By Catherine Cunningham

Indeed, these are strange and interesting times. When the COVID-19 storm hit– many people became very angry with Nature. Many continue today, to argue with fiery rage that Nature is bad, causing us great sickness and distress. IT is dangerous and destructive. IT is causing season after season of record heat waves, extraordinary fires, immense floods. And, IT shall be overcome by our ingenuity and engineering.

I have a different angle on Mother Nature.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

She is teacher, source, provider, nurturer, unifier, and great balancer. Her way is easy. It’s the path we have taken that’s hard. Tell me, what does a good mother do when she spies her children playing recklessly in the park—digging up the earth, uprooting plants, chasing after small critters to burn, squish, or stone them? She pulls them from their harmful play, scolds them, and gives them a “time out”, right? And, what if she catches her son bullying another human being, who for some reason strikes him as different? Same thing, “time out”— until he reconciles to the truth that his actions were not right and he proves that he is ready to re-emerge – a changed, little man. And in the spirit of gender equality, what if a mother catches her daughter forming an exclusive group, excluding some and speaking poorly about others? Time out (right?) until her daughter realizes that each one of us is an infinitely valuable being and essential worker in life’s master plan. There is no waste in Nature– in healthy, regenerative, circular ecosystems. All matter and every living being (who btw matters) is cycled back into Mother Nature’s infinite embrace. Every ant, seed, fern, flower, mushroom cap, grass blade, tadpole, fish fry, flying bird and bat, turtle and tree… including me; are keystone species.

Together, we hold the key to eternity. We are not islands unto our individual selves. Rather we live in solidarity as one family on our turtle island Earth. And once we realize this absolute truth and scientific fact– we will recover our human+nature lost, rescue our best selves from our worst enemies-ourselves, ensure the continuity of life on earth, and live happily ever after in our Garden of Eden, once again.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

Clearly, we have come to that ‘great moment’ in our biological evolution and cultural history, where we as Homo sapiens (literally smart humanoids) have a vital choice to make.

I’m sorry, UN Secretary General Antonio Guiterrez, we are NOT in a war with nature. This is the wrong language, energy, tone, and tact. We are in the betwixt and between of a necessary period of personal introspection; where we might finally awaken to the reality that WE are OUR enemy, ourselves; in fact. And, it is high time for us to grow into our more mature, stewardship roles of nature, transform our societies in nature positive ways, and claim our natural intelligence back.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

Of course, the real question is: Will we choose to emerge from the COVID-19 underworld as a healthier, united global family under Mother Nature’s care or will we choose to soon secure our fate as a fossil record in the geologic history of life on earth, locked away forever in the sands of time?

Finally, isn’t it true that everything we need to learn about life, about living well on spaceship earth, about how to elegantly transition out of this corona virus chaos—our Mother Nature playbook– we learned in kindergarten? Tread lightly on the land, be conscious of your impact on other toes (for Mother Nature always knows), give back more than you take, take only what you need, include everyone, celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature, share what you have with those who have less, value and respect everyone, drink lots of pure spring water, eat only energetically rich, healthy food, breathe deeply, smile often, laugh a lot, and remember always to say “thank you”.

Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD, Natural Intelligence Media is committed to awakening Natural Intelligence in the World. She produces multimedia content — books, films, interactive media, and podcasts with her creative companions that aim to inspire everyone, everywhere to live a happy, healthy, naturally intelligent life.

Visit our Natural Intelligence Website HERE.

Listen to my Naturally Intelligent by Design Podcast, featuring strategies from animals in our world to adapt to disruptive environmental change. HERE

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  • Catherine Cunningham, PhD

    Mission Possible: Awaken Natural Intelligence in Our World

    Natural Intelligence

    Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD is an ecologist, anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, and media host producing films, interactive experiences, and online multimedia for international clients who are focused on positive economic, social, and environmental win-win-win solutions to global conservation and climate change.

    Catherine has travelled, written, photographed, and filmed in 70 countries, producing creative films and music videos in support the UN Global Goals and the human+nature planetary health narrative. Visit Natural to see where her work has premiered internationally. Over 20 years, she has interviewed hundreds of global thought leaders to promote sustainable solutions to climate change and conservation in creative ways. Catherine has written numerous articles on climate change, nature, and regeneration. She’s currently writing two books: “Naturally Intelligent by Design” — a fine art science and culture book for families and “Natural Intelligence”— a guidebook for well-navigating a post COVID-19 world by following nature’s principles. Partnering with Eurovision News and Events, Catherine is also an independent media host— producing content on nature, climate, and regeneration; syndicated globally by EuroVision’s News Direct. She is a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Medium. She currently produces communications for the Prince Albert II Foundation and participates in programming @ the World Economic Forum on Climate Change, Nature, and Biodiversity. As an university educator, Catherine taught undergraduate and masters courses in corporate sustainability communications at Arizona State University; global sustainability at Chapman University; biology, ecology, botany, and environmental science at Denver State College and Front Range College. In 2016, she designed one of the first university courses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also online), contributing to youth action on the UN Global Goals. She also created a post-graduate program with UNESCO on the MAB (Man the Biosphere) reserves. Catherine earned her PhD in Ecosystem Science at ETHZ in Switzerland, studying climate impacts on mountain ecosystems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology and International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters degree from Utah State in Ecology. Catherine speaks fluent English and conversational Italian. She loves creative collaboration, media production, mountaineering, outdoor sports, yoga, wellness, and travel.