ITALY — Amelia Gambetti Reflects on the Beauty of Nature 

Nature is Beautiful by Amelia Gambetti

“Apart from the animals and birds, the flowers and insects, the spectacular landscapes, the drifting ice, the dazzling light, the cold and dark, the Arctic can provide an abundance of that priceless — but sometimes worthless — commodity called wilderness. It is a place where man can be himself again, alone, primitive perhaps, but above all an individual. Humans need such experience; they also need unspoilt spaces like the Arctic.” —From the film Kingdom of the Ice Bear

Last summer I wrote a contribution to the book “Beautiful Nature” while I was in the Arctic, as part of a North West Passage expedition. I was at the top of the world and it was an incredible sensation full of excitement. I was breathing the pleasure to be immersed into the power, the marvel, and the aesthetics of nature because I was strongly surrounded by it.

The Arctic and Antarctica are places where much research is conducted in order to follow the development of global climate change year by year. We all know that researchers are observing carefully what is happening. Now I am here and I can see it, too. It is moving, touching, and devastating.

My husband Sergio and I went to Greenland six years ago and now we can clearly see that some of the glaciers we had seen at that time have lost a remarkable amount of ice. In general, navigating the Arctic, there are far fewer seals, birds, whales, and walruses. Polar bears are just a few. They look skinny and desperate when they walk the tundra, looking for eggs of birds or anything they can eat because they are starving. In the Canadian Arctic Circle these last years the ice has started to disappear in early spring and the summer the climate has become quite mild. Really incredible!

I am living what I have read about global warming, what we all keep hearing, what people talk about… because summers are hotter and winters are warmer or there is an increase of extreme nature factors…. Travelling in the Arctic, I was totally aware of how much humans’ misbehaviour has dramatically negatively influenced the precious natural environment in which we all live.

Nature is beautiful, but how much do we all feel the responsibility to defend or protect it? Instead, have we taken too much for granted what we have, what we look at without thinking enough of the beauty of it in a broader sense? And what about a respectful relationship between human beings and nature? How much we are in deep contact with nature looking for a balance between humans and nature, considering that we all are part of the same planet?

And then thinking as educators, how much have we felt it necessary to become researchers with children and parents in order to look for information, to create a deep awareness about the situation of nature?

Thinking in a broader sense, what is this generation leaving to future generations? What about future generations, new strategies they should prepare to find in order to defend and protect nature?

I think there is then a huge question that all the main leaders of the world should also ask themselves more often: Is nature politics? I strongly believe it is, as well as I believe that is a common responsibility we all share.

We as adults share with children the love for nature and should also learn how to share the fact that what we see and admire today, what we have today, in the near future may be very different. It could even disappear if we do not take fast action. Yes, it is true, there is the danger that we will not have it anymore due to the dramatic change of the climate and all that this change will imply in the life of animals and humans. We as adults should learn how to generate questions for us and for and with the children in order to pay deep attention to what is happening to our beautiful environment.

This year our learning has been particularly wonderful, interesting, and meaningful, as well as painful and tough. It went straight to our hearts.

This deep awareness about what global warming has done to our planet has influenced our new way to look at nature, at our environment as something more than precious, like a delicate treasure that really deserves attention, intervention, protection; but also more opportunity to disseminate information at different levels.

On a positive note, if I think of myself as an educator: What I have learned will contribute to my collaborations in schools with teachers, children, and parents. I would like to share my experience in the Arctic with the intention to create a deeper sense of belonging to our planet, to what we all can offer as a support, as an aid, as evidence of participation in order to increase actions we can take oriented to protect more and more the environment, nature, and everything that is part of them. Nature is beautiful, but the beauty of nature cannot be taken for granted by all of us. To do so, it will be a huge and dangerous mistake.

What we see now, what we admire now, must be defended and protected with love, sensitivity, and a deep sense of responsibility towards the richness of the natural presence we still have. Future generations are in front of us; let’s imbue with them a deeper respect for nature and for its development before the global situation becomes more dramatic.

As quite often I like to say, “Together is always better.” Therefore I want to be confident that our common effort will bring hope to the well being of our beautiful nature and humans, too.

I would like to end with a quote from John Steinbeck that I particularly like: “A journey is a person itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policies, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”

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