I was reminded yesterday how much I’ve changed over the years.
Yesterday I heard about the stick insect that my great niece has been keeping as a pet for 6 months. I had no idea that stick insects could be kept as pets, so I was interested to find out all about it, and when I got home I googled and found this:
I remarked when I heard about it that, at one time, I probably would have stomped on a stick insect if it came too close to me. Not today; today I am a vegan who loves all creatures great and small.
Why, even last night I found a cockroach in my bathroom. Rather than squashing it, as I would have done not long ago, I caught it in a container and took it outside. Anyone who knows me well will know that this was a real feat, as, for as long as I can remember, I have had a real phobia of cockroaches.
I had a remarkable encounter with some wasps recently as well. I found that paper wasps had been building a nest underneath the table on our terrace. My mind immediately went to what had been done in the past when a wasp nest appeared in a place where we would be competing for space: my husband would have waited till night when the wasps were relatively inactive, sprayed the nest with insect spray, and knocked the nest off. My all-loving vegan self didn’t want this to happen, but I didn’t want to get stung either. What should we do?
Then I realised that, while cleaning the table, I had moved it around and walked all around it, and not been stung. Maybe we could cohabitate with the wasps. My husband agreed, and so far we have done just that. (If you come to visit, though, I would sit at the other end of the table if I were you.)
I know that my generation was raised with an ‘us against them’ mentality in relation to the natural world. I learned in my study of Feminist Theology that man’s interpretation of the Bible has allowed him to believe that he has dominion over the natural world. He interpreted his role in this dominion as domination, rather than a stewardship role which Feminist Theology leans towards.
This idea that man is the dominant force on the planet has had devastating effects on our beautiful planet, and on all who dwell on her. Man has believed that he is the most important being on the planet and that his needs come first, regardless of the effects he might have on any other being. This ethos is what has caused the extinction of so many species on our planet; it has created a world where factory farming has caused millions of animals to suffer intolerable lives; it has created oceans filled with plastic but no fish; and even wars amongst humans are created by the idea that ‘we’ are somehow better than ‘them’.
It was so inspiring to learn that young ones are being taught to embrace all of the natural world, including the creeping, crawling parts of it. Once we start to consider that all of life is precious, we begin to trust that every species has a role to play in keeping our planet in balance.
If we consider that God created the world and the universe in perfect balance, might it not seem a trifle arrogant to think that we need to do anything to keep it that way? If we can let go of our need to dominate and control our environment and our planet, respect all of life, and accept all of God’s creation as having an equal right to natural existence, we are more likely to be able to allow our planet to return to the Eden which God created.
I would love to hear of any interaction you have had with the natural world.