Suzanne Simard – TRANSCRIPT
The Coast Salish people say, “We are one.” For thousands of years they lived it. But we didn’t pay any attention. Most of us have forgotten that we’re connected to each other, and to nature, that we are one. But nature is not some separate thing, but an intimate part of us. And what we do on this Earth ripples through our ecosystems, our web of connections.
Now, the signs are undeniable: climate change, species extinctions, human suffering. We have forgotten. But for their faith, the people are connected through spirit to forests, and oceans and rivers and bears and salmon, the Coast Salish people were ignored. But truly, it does come down to a matter of faith, to trust and respect the relationships that make up the complexity of nature. But we said that’s unscientific. Western science requires exact measurements, visible proof, statistics. But make no mistake, the Coast Salish people were deeply scientific. How else could they have lived here for over 10,000 years in such prosperity?
In fact, they were more scientific than we. For us to look any deeper, that would have hampered progress. “There are trees in those forests, and our buildings need wood, and our printers need paper. We need to cut down the forests and replant those trees.” Now, how do I fit into this? Well, I come from a family of loggers. And while my family was up on the mountainsides cutting down trees, one here, one there, I was playing in the forest below, in the places that are seen and unseen, in the trees and the logs and the forest floor. And I believed that fairies lived there. And their job was to live in and protect the forest, just like my job. But the fairies couldn’t save that forest, and neither could I; actually, nobody could. Because the owner of the patch had to cut it down to feed his family. And that moment changed me forever. Actually, it motivated me.