The following video and text originally appeared on filmmaker David Conover’s blog http://www.beholdtheearth.com/blog/scientists/1146/safina-on-the-word-creation/.
Words matter. Learning to say hello in the native language of a country that you visit matters. A matter of connection, of civility, of grace. Sometimes the word environment suffers from misuse, and may not be the best word of hello among scientists and people of faith. I remember an older Russian fellow and his translator who I once traveled with in Kamchatka. We were part of the first western expedition allowed into this formerly restricted land. After lunch one day, we were sitting on the hot stones of a remote riverbed, amidst resting monarch butterflies. We got into one of those conversations about language that happens when alert translators are around. Together, the Russian and his translator remarked that the word environment is very different from the world wilderness, because environment refers exclusively to what surrounds humanity (environs). Wilderness is more boundless, untied to us. This difference in meaning exposes how environment measures the world on the basis of people. As Carl eloquently expands upon in the video clip below, creation has bigness and mystery. Perhaps creation captures more of the world beyond man’s measure? Perhaps it is a graceful way of saying hello amidst fellow travelers?
For more information about this unique film that explores human’s relationship with the natural world, please visit Behold the Earth’s home page: http://www.beholdtheearth.com/about-the-film/