Back to Nature

The peoples of the North have a long history of communing with nature, whether by building homes or ships from wood, whether by hunting game for food or clothing, or whether by tilling the soil to grow crops. The Sami people of the northern edge of Norway and Finland survived the cold climate by using the reindeer for transportation, food and clothing; the Inuit people of Greenland built homes of ice and hunted the seal for food, oil and clothing; and the Vikings cut down trees to build their swift ships and sturdy cabins.

To survive the severe and cold North demanded an understanding and appreciation of how to best deal with nature. On one hand, one may have wished to control nature to one’s own benefit but on the other hand, one may have learned to respect the limits of such control. As part of the overall ecological system, humans are sharing their existence with all other living entities and are in fact, depended on them.

With centuries of such knowledge, the Nordic countries have led the way to wind energy and to usable energy from the burning of trash. These are examples of utilizing energy that already exists, whether it is natural wind or it is human made combustion. Both humans and nature benefit.

The connection to nature, to know that you are part of it, to rely on it, and to respect it, can be experienced through modern day output such as the New Nordic Cuisine. The idea to forage for foods in your own backyard, which includes the ocean, and to only serve foods that are naturally grown or harvested in your own region – such as plants, even weeds, and fish and game – is behind the philosophy of the New Nordic Cuisine. This means no tomatoes are served while nettles and seaweed are.

Another modern output that works with and considers nature in their creations is Nordic architecture and design. A building like the Oslo Opera House in Norway is a good example of that. Here, the idea of nature being free to walk in was transferred to how humans interact with the building, from walking on roof tops to sitting right by the water of the Oslo fjord. Explore here

Instead of perceiving humans and nature as separate entities, the sensible approach is to appreciate their inter-dependence and co-habitation to make way for future generations and for a happy planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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