Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The perception of ecological life

In a text dating from 1882, a master of the Himalayan community (near the Tibetan plateau) wrote that "nature has united all parts of his empire by subtle threads of magnetic sympathy, and there is even a mutual relationship between a star and a man." Carlos Cardoso Aveline speaks about this text in his book "A Vida Secreta da Natureza" (The Secret Life of Nature) (ed. Bodigaya , 156 pp.), seeking to highlight the essence of the ecological perception of life.

Marcus Eduardo de Oliveira

Absolutely everything that is around us is connected to our lives, has a close relationship with nature. Not by chance, "the universe and everything in nature has to do with everything at all times and in all circumstances," said physicists Niels Bohr (1885-1962) and Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976).

We are part of the universe, made ​​of the same cosmic dust that originated with the explosion of the big red stars. Our relationship with the stars is even higher, after all, they are what help the process of converting hydrogen into helium, and the combination of these gases gives off oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Without this rich combination amino acids would not be possible (essential for the production of more than 50 thousand proteins and over 15 thousand enzymes, including digestive enzymes) essential to life. So there is a special relationship between a star and a man, as mentioned.

An inexorable fact is that the greater community of life unites all beings in the same relationship, housed in the same House (Eco), from the Greek (oikos), which together with logos (logia, meaning science), gave rise to the term ecology, first used in 1866 by biologist Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919) .
From bacteria to humans there is in all the same base genetic code, the same amino acids and the same phosphate bases, differing only the combinations of these elements.

We are therefore part of biodiversity and  it is not with to much effort that one can conclude that our body is an ecosystem, after all, it shelter, within us, more or less 71% water (the same percentage that is in the Earth); our rate of salinization of blood (3.4 %) is the same as the seas. Just 60% of our body is oxygen. There are within each of us more than 100 trillion cells sharing atoms with all that is around us. Certainly, this is a clear perception of ecological life.

We inhabit an Earth that was formed in its origin by cosmic matter, composed mainly of silicon, oxygen, aluminum and iron. This man-living-nature-earth-life is so intense that even in harsh environments it is possible to find signs of life, as in the ocean at depths of more than three kilometers, where sunlight does not reach, where the pressure is extreme, or there are craters of volcanoes with frightening temperatures, or even in regions with high radiation, tells us Henrique Lins de Barros , in "Biodiversidade" (Biodiversity) (ed. Fiocruz, 94 pp.). So with the things of nature life evolves on an ongoing basis, shaping up and asserting itself, always in a process of continuous improvement, for nature, like life itself, day by day presents something new, we just need to look carefully for it.

Leonardo Boff , reiterating the life-nature relationship, says that without the elements of nature, of which man is part and parcel without viruses, bacteria, microorganisms, the genetic code, the primordial chemical elements, he (human being) does not exist.

We are sons and daughters of Gaya (Mother Earth) which shelters us. The ecological awareness of human life, as well as the perception of ecological living, is reflected everywhere, in every corner, at every moment, whether in a single drop of water or a waterfall, in the winds that produce energy, in a grain of sand beside the cactus which able to beautify the scorching aridity of the desert, the air mass, the green leaves, the rain that makes flowers blossom, the lily that blooms in the mud, in the multiplicity of aquatic life, in the wonderful singing of birds, the bees that pollinate the flowers giving us food, in phytoplankton that produce the oxygen we breathe. This is all the abundant ecological wealth that makes up the essence of life, it beautifies, excessively, the magic of living.


Carl Sagan (1934-1996) once said that "there are beings that slide, crawl, float, glide, swim, dig, walk, gallop or just stay still and grow vertically for centuries. Some weigh 100 tonnes, but the majority is less than a billionth of a gram in weight. There are organisms able to see under infrared or ultraviolet light, and there are beings that are blind which perceive the environment by surrounding themselves with an electric field. Some store sunlight and air, some are placid pasture eaters, others hunt their prey with claws, teeth and neurological poisons. Some live an hour and some, a millennium."
Such is life within the ecological system, and it is in this way that occurs an ecological awareness and perception of life .

Marcus Eduardo de Oliveira é economista e professor de economia da

FAC-FITO e do UNIFIEO, em São Paulo.