A spiritual connection with nature has enabled the villagers to live harmoniously with their environment and create cottage industries that are sustainable and non-polluting.
Over its 5,000 years of civilization, Chinese culture has traditionally lived in harmony with nature – giving birth to Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Traditional Chinese Medicine that all emphasize living in balance and harmony with the natural world around them. The recent eroding of this traditional practice has, undoubtedly, resulted in the extreme pollution and environmental crisis that China experiences today. A new generation is growing up without access to fresh air, eating produce grown in contaminated soils, and living in cities dominated by artificial plastic products. Their long-term health (with rising cancer rates) has suffered as a result. It is time to reverse this trend, educate the people on the environment, and reconnect the Chinese back with the land.
Today, 80 rural villages a day are destroyed in China – and with it, the connection with nature and understanding of the land.
One can learn how to live in harmony with nature by observing the lifestyles of the ethnic minority villagers in rural Guizhou province. Their Shamanistic religion worships the sun, moon, lightning, thunder, fire, rivers, caverns, large trees, huge stones, and animals. Everything that moves or grows is believed to have its own spirit. As a result, there is a great reverence for nature and living as part of the natural ecosystem.
Each family grows and produces everything they need to survive – including the trees to build their homes, which are then replanted for future use. Cotton is grown to make their own clothes and used as bedding for blankets. Pigs and chickens are naturally free-range, and organic vegetables are grown by each family and eaten in-season.
Their lack of a written language means that every future generation will forget how to live within the complex laws of nature.
Not only do they live according to nature’s cycles, the villagers are an integral part of the natural ecosystem. They live a lean lifestyle with minimal environmental impact and little waste. Tree vines are used as ropes, enabling them to be discarded back into the woods after use. Long blades of grass tie bundles of vegetables together (instead of disposable rubber bands); a nail on the wall is used to hang a skirt (instead of hanger); a chicken feather is used instead to draw fine lines (instead of a plastic pen); and the list goes on. The electricity may goes out for days, but it does not bother them because their lifestyle is not dependent on it. It is a low carbon footprint lifestyle that we all should follow and and try to incorporate into our own lives.
There is no guidebook for how to live the indigenous lifestyle, and their lack of a written language means that every future generation will forget how to live within the complex laws of nature. It is this increasing disconnect with nature that we find ourselves in such imbalance with now. It is the reason why we must preserve the traditional lifestyles and keep the indigenous knowledge from disappearing.