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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  Albert Einstein

Are We Living With the Earth? - From the Archives

Zoë Van Nostrand, November 1, 2017

By Matt Pride - Primitive Pursuits Intern

Do we live with the Earth, or are we simply using the Earth how we please to live comfortably? Are we becoming more disconnected from our true home? I hear people say that they live on Planet Earth. Don’t we really live with the Earth? Isn’t that how it should be, isn’t that how it used to be? The idea of living on the Earth rather than with it suggests the belief that all it has to offer is ours to use at our will and we do not have to give anything back. I ventured out on a weekend excursion for the Survival 101 portion of the Living with the Earth Program to explore ways to live more harmoniously with the world that surrounds me.

The largest task that we faced all weekend was building ourselves a shelter. A home, a dwelling, a safe and warm place to call it a night until a new day was upon us. We all build our own debris shelters in the woods where where we would spend the night. We worked throughout the day, building structures out of sticks and loading leaves on top for insulation and protection from the elements.

How gracious were the trees to give up their leaves so that I may use them for myself. What did I do to deserve this gift and how can I repay it? How many other times has the earth selflessly given me gifts which I have no repaid or even acknowledged?

After hours of work, my shelter was built and ready for use. When it came time for sleep, i crawled into my shelter that was stuffed full with leaves and grasses.

Lying in my shelter I thought to myself, what better way to live with the earth, than to lie and sleep in a pile of it?

Lying in my pile of leaves, I thought about how I normally sleep when I am outside. There’s usually a tent or tarp, sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag. What a luxury. I gained a new appreciation for these pieces of gear.

I began to think about all of the things I had and whether I really needed them. I thought about how I could give something back to the source that has provided me with so much. What could I or anyone do? I can treat what I do have with respect and most importantly be thankful for having it. I can rethink using or buying things that I do not need. Through a conscious awareness of these beliefs, i can begin to live with the Earth more than on it.


This article originally appeared in the Primitive Pursuits newsletter ‘The Tinder Bundle’ in December 2008.

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