Let’s face it, nature is a dirty place, dirtier than places like the middle-class suburbs, but mostly cleaner than third world countries, slums, and shanty towns where the population’s excrement co-mingles with their drinking water. Ah, the suburbanites have the luxury of crying about how tragic it is that their kids won’t get to experience the outdoors, and make a contribution by joining the Sierra Club and making once-a-year donations to Greenpeace.
Get most of these people out into nature and enjoy the irony as it unfolds. They want the mountain lions, coyotes, and other wild animals out of their neighborhood at any cost after someone or someone’s pet gets attacked, yet teach their kids the importance of biodiversity and of the humane treatment of cute and furry animals. They pay more for organically labeled food, and yet soak those irksome weeds with Round-Up, having no understanding of the consequences of toxic runoff that seeps into the water. They go outside and cover themselves in deet to keep away the insects (Nature bad!), bust out the bug spray when the ants come and raid the picnic, and plug in the bug zapper whose kill ratio is 5 mosquitoes to 95 of possibly beneficial insects. They make a huge fuss if there isn’t a nearby flushing bathroom stocked with toilet paper, running water, and soap. Watch the honors students cry when you tell them that they have to go into the forest behind a tree, dig a hole with a branch and wipe with broad evergreen leaves (make sure to avoid plants with clusters of 3 leaves)! Now what do you think of composting on a personal level, kids? You know what the difference between a jungle and a rainforest is? Being there yourself burning the leaches off of your friend’s private areas versus watching Steve Irwin getting attacked by wild animals on TV.
We like to pick and choose our nature, wanting to interact with the clean and cute stuff, while avoiding the stinky, disease ridden, ugly stuff. A butterfly is good, a bunch of mealworm-like caterpillars collectively excreting white threads out of its butt is bad.
Most of us like nature, but only at a distance.
We like our houses sterile, devoid of nature except for a few groomed plants and pets that we keep unnaturally clean. When nature comes creeping in, we swat it with a rolled up newspaper, suck it up, sweep it out, douse it with chemicals, make adjustments to the places from which we think it came more inaccessable, and wipe it down with bleach afterwards just to make sure that all traces are removed. Don’t say that you wish that people were close to nature unless you fully understand what this means, and are willing to put up and move out to Walden pond. Chances are that you can’t hack it, unless it’s on the Discovery Channel.
Nature is disgusting. Sure there are beautiful things in nature, but to say that all things natural are beautiful is a dirty, rotten lie that is easily exposed. Have you ever watched a hippopotamus give birth on the National Geographic Channel, or scattering shit with its tail to spread its scent around? Have you watched a seagull eating an umbilical cord that was still attached to a newborn elephant seal crying out for its mother? Have you seen chimpanzees cannibalizing bastard infant chimpanzees to get rid of offspring that they know was fathered by another group of chimpanzees. Has a three inch long millipede with the girth the size of a roll of pennies ever died in your bathtub, hiding an egg cluster somewhere in the vicinity? Did the eggs start to a year ago, letting loose a few dozen mini-millipedes in your bathroom? Did they start to appear again a year later, even after you disinfected the whole bathroom several times since with cleaning agents and bleach? After the tree huggers get a little too close to the poison oak, they start to think more practically.
If you feel strongly about living in “true” harmony with nature, then you might as well back up your words through action. Don’t throw away the moldy bread, let it grow and flourish, and to spread its spores among the other foods. Don’t sweep out the dust or vacuum, as you will be upsetting the fragile habitat of the dustmite! Don’t clean your toilet because the shit-spatters and pubic hair are a micro-ecosystem for coliform bacteria- a garden rich in microorganisms from your intestinal tract. Sure, if you do this then you might have the balance with nature that you wanted, but at what cost? You will be known as the smelly dirty hippie who never cleans his or her toilet.