Topic: Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness is a worldview that emphasizes the deep interdependence of everything on Earth. From animals to water to rocks to bacteria, our fates are inextricably intertwined. Interconnectedness understands the world as a set of systems in delicate balance with one another. It is the opposite of the belief that humans are separate from or above nature.

The concept of interconnectedness can be found in Indigenous and scientific discourses. It is an ancient concept and is fundamental to the Four R’s of Indigenous cultural values, first articulated by LaDonna Harris and Jacqueline Wasilewski through their inter-tribal work with Americans for Indian Opportunity in the 1980s and 1990s. These common values are based on the kinship of all Earthlings and our obligations to one another.

In Western science, interconnection can be seen within the feedback loops of ecosystems such as nutrient cycles, food webs, and microbiomes. The interdisciplinary field of systems sciences explores the complexity of systems in various settings, including nature, society, and the human body.

Although sometimes referred to by different terms (interdependence, dependence on nature), the concept of interconnectedness is seen by many climate justice and sustainability activists as the cornerstone of an ecological civilization. It is emphasized in the principles of the just transition collective, Climate Justice Alliance. It was promoted by Thich Nhat Hang, Vietnamese Buddhist leader and peace activist, in his book, Love Letter to the Earth. And it is an essential mindset shift Kate Raworth advocates for in Doughnut Economics.

©2024 ClimateLit (Nicki May)

Related Terms: Doughnut Economics, ecological civilizationfractal flourishinghuman supremacy (antonym), ecocentrism, ecopsychology, industrial ecology, web of lifefood websecosystem services

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by Shaun Tan

“After all, dear beloved, I need you as much as you need me. And where could we live if not in the bottomless den or each other’s shadow?”

by K. O'Neill

“I know our village is small, and we can only do small things to help the sea. But I still think we should do them. Even if other people are harming the reef, it doesn’t make it okay for us to as well.”

by Jasbinder Bilan

“I screw my eyes tightly closed, place my palms together and say a prayer . . . I hear the rushing water of the Ganges, the mountain winds whistling their way through the valleys of Moormanali and connect to the ancient rhythms of my ancestors.”

by Jon Scieszka

“So now it’s up to you to figure a way out. You can: a) Burn less fossil fuels or b) Find another planet with air and water and plants and animals, just like Me.”

by Simon J. Smith, Steve Hickner

“As a bee, honey’s pretty important to me. It’s important to all bees. We invented it. We make it. And we protect it with our lives.”

by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Liza Ketchum, Phyllis Root

“And here’s the wonder: her tiny body (not even an inch) holds everything she needs to create a whole colony of bees.”

by Brian Selznick

“Merwin. All life is in danger. Remember, life began as a gift, and it must always be treated as such. No matter how unstoppable the danger seems, no matter how unavoidable, there’s always something you can do.”

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Children hearing the Skywoman story from birth know in their bones the responsibility that flows between humans and the earth.”

by Jeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes

“Most people stare up into space with wonder. Yet, we have this almost alien world on our own planet just teeming with life. But it’s a world people almost never explore.”

by Jason Chin

“With so many species living in such a small space, it’s no wonder coral reefs are called cities of the sea.”