The Whole is Greater than the Sum Miniseries
Why do we make a big deal of holistic approaches, holistic medicine, holistic management? Isn't it obvious that everything is interconnected? Looking at how we tend to break things into isolated components, I guess we keep forgetting this point. This series of posts will be looking at just a few of the many examples from Nature.
Part 2, "The Whole..." miniseries. Pretty neat, a disembodied mountain sheep wandering through purple haze. But in the connected #naturalworld, he's even neater and more than just an image. He is the flesh and blood manifestation of a summer's worth of sunshine on alpine meadows, the product of a wild herd's wisdom about navigating the high country. Can't create that with Photoshop!
Part 3 in the miniseries "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts". It makes sense to kids, why not grownups? In Nature, things are all interconnected. Impacting one thing has a ripple effect. And this includes humans too, And their pets. The system is greater than the pieces.
Part 4 in this little series about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts... this misty aspen grove is more than its pretty white-barked trees. It's a giant clone connected by a massive root system that's tapped into by this pretty little parasite we call paintbrush. In Nature, there's always more going on behind the scenes than we can imagine.
art 5 Sum of the Parts miniseries: YLE's custom Foundation report. Don't get caught in a late spring snowstorm without your copy! It gives you the whole picture of Nature on a piece of land. Including the reasons behind the gale force winds, the lack of plants to protect you, and how the native inhabitants survive. Order your copy now for a piece of land that matters to you: www.landexplained.com. #yourlandexplained, #natureinterpretation, #environmentalconsultant, #snowstorm, #landsteward
When it comes to analogies, my house is the best parallel I can find for Nature and its interconnections. And it's the best way to explain to the modern person how Nature is far greater than the sum of its parts. Think of a house, taken apart and lying on the ground. Heaps of insulation, two by sixes, plywood, towel racks, electrical wires, light bulbs, nails and siding. Carpeting, switch plates, copper pipe, drywall, screws, and drawer pulls. Each piece is identifiable, and we know how it's supposed to function. But the pipes won't carry water, the carpet won't comfort bare feet, and the drywall won't hold up a picture unless the pieces are assembled and turned into a house. Fully assembled, the house is the whole, and it is a place that shelters, warms, feeds and entertains. And Nature is the same, once we get past the deconstructed elements that we learned in school. I envision it as a pile of disassociated facts lying in our brains-- the geology and different types of rock, the weather and climate, the soil and its productivity, the animal kingdom. The plant kingdom. The hydrologic cycle. Extinction, invasive species, air pollution, soil erosion. I can see how people get detached and even uncomfortable when Nature is presented like this.
Like the house, let's think about Nature fully assembled instead. It's a place that shelters, feeds, challenges and shapes its inhabitants. Fully assembled, you can find mountain sheep navigating mountains of igneous rock, eating alpine plants made more nutritious by volcanic soils. It's also a place where you'll see the claret cup cactus enduring long droughts to outlast the sagebrush which would overshadow it. When all the parts are put together, you can find paintbrush sucking water and nutrients from larger plants to survive in a competitive woodland. Welcome to my (and your) house, it's so much bigger than we thought!