Nature is not a resource

Canada recently announced it is holding an international summit in April concerning the protection of nature. I was excited about the announcement because I believe that nature needs all the protection it can get nowadays. I eagerly clicked on the announcement. When I read the first sentence, I froze. It reads, “Nature is our most precious resource.”

My heart sank as I realized that this summit would be just one more meeting where people talked about protecting nature but nothing resulted from it. Why? Because the most important first step in protecting nature is realizing it is NOT a resource. The definition of resource states it is “a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.” Nature is not something to be drawn upon by others. It is not an asset. It is a living entity. We enter into relationship with nature. What that means is there is reciprocity between us. Nature provides the means by which humans and all life exists but we also need to think of what we give back in return for those things. When a person thinks about a resource, he or she thinks about using that asset but does not consider what he or she will give back in return. Using the term “resource” diminishes nature and fails to recognize the relationship we have with nature.

If we are to truly protect nature, we must first change our relationship with it and recognize the reciprocity we have. We must learn to regard it as the wise, living entity it is, not as a “resource” for humanity’s needs.

— Jo Belasco, Esq.