Our daughter’s chief complaint about high school is that there’s too much drama. Then she heads to her room and watches several hours of Korean drama. What’s the deal with that? I guess as exhausting as it can be, we love a good plot, with winners, losers and romance. It goes deeper than that, because many of us see the world that way, and when information comes at us that won't fit into those boxes, we get bored or frustrated.
Recognizing drama's power, and also that we can handle a lot of nuance as long as it centers around the basic plot lines, let’s look at a Nature example in that light. First, how science would explain it: "Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) preferentially feed on Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata w.) with alleles which reduce terpenoids, gradually skewing stand genetics. Long term implications for mule deer population likely to be negative." Now, in more dramatic terms: "Deer are eating too much of the sagebrush that tastes good, allowing the sagebrush which tastes bad and sickens them to seize dominance. Ironic thing is, this will backfire on the deer, because there will be nothing left that they can eat."
I don't know about you, but the dramatic version elicited a more emotional response from me. There are winners (deer at first, unpalatable sagebrush), and losers (palatable sagebrush, and in a plot twist, the deer themselves). The greater point here is that maybe we can increase our engagement with Nature if we recognize this need for drama in ourselves. Just think, wouldn't you be more likely to turn off Netflix and go for a walk on the land if you thought of it as being on a stage, amid an immense cast of characters acting out a hundred different dramas?