Strange days indeed.
On the one hand, an increasing body of scientific evidence is emerging that trees and other plants communicate amongst themselves at some level, creating synergies and demonstrating behavioural patterns which are mutually beneficial to themselves as well as other creatures. When discussing this matter, it can be tempting to fall prey to the trap of anthropomorphising behaviour of beings that are fundamentally very different from us – yet the fact remains that this insight is very relevant and profound, causing one to rethink the Victorian take on nature, which viewed it very much as a bloody tooth and claw business, this point of view led to Darwin coining the term survival of the fittest. Whilst of course, some genetic traits may prove to be more viable or better suited to certain environmental factors than others, it is now becoming apparent that this does not exclude cooperation and altruistic behaviour.
On the other hand, moving away from the natural realm, humans seem to be faring less well.
This first and that first, make this that or the other great again. Like, really?! Common sense seems to have been launched into a ballistic orbit, strapped to a pair of JATOs belching flame at full thrust, along with truth, reason and facts – to be replaced by simplistic, jingoistic slogans and apparently oh-so easy solutions.
Surely, we all stand to loose if we start to fragment into increasingly granular, jealously guarded, heavily militarised units. Alex Shigo once said, I am paraphrasing here, that compartmentalisation in trees is a good thing – yet in humans it is deadly. I could not agree more! Maybe this is a sentiment that someone ought to point out to the Trumps, LePens, Farages, Blochers, Höckes, Orbans and the myriad of populist leaders out there, who seem hell-bent on leading us back into the dark ages of nationalism, ecological destruction and ego-centrism – and we all know where that led last time round.
Rather than repeating history, we would do better to look towards nature for a lesson, striving for cooperation and working towards mutual benefit rather than heading down a path which is increasingly blinkered and destructive.