Connections in nature are beneficial for the planet, living or non-living, if used in a respectful way. By co-existing, the relationships of organisms working with their physical surroundings can flourish. An example of nature co-existence is putting kitchen scraps into dirt to create compost, apply the compost to soil, which then starts a biological process of decomposing and rebuilding the soil. Or the Abert squirrel subspecies in the Southwest, which coincides with ponderosa pine forests. This squirrel makes exclusive use of this tree for cover, nesting, and food, while they also dig up and eat fungus around the trees. This digging disperses spores, which aids in the reproduction of the fungus, the fungus then grows around the roots of the trees which helps maintain moisture in the dry southwest environment.

The human footprint in nature can have significant ecological influence on the planet. We exist in a time of excessive consumption, which includes obtaining and throwing away “stuff”, deforestation, agriculture, or walking off hiking trails to “see more”. These things can alter the health and biodiversity of an inhabited area. The good news is that the nature is adaptable and resilient. Adjustment can happen if the changes are subtle, the bad news is that extreme changes make wild things vulnerable, where their numbers can decrease and eventually disappear. Sometimes these alterations are natural disasters, but we still need to be conscientious advocates for this planet. Find a balance with our existence while taking care to sustain habitats and not disrupt the ecosystems that many and various life forms survive in. Humans have the power to find that balance in many ways, whether it is to consume less stuff, recycle more, waste less, or create legislation that protects life forms and natural areas. We have to find that harmony.

Happy new year! Find balance. Be inspired.

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