The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Nature Disconnect - Next Step?

The four previous blogposts considered the steps that humankind has taken in disconnecting from nature, and the lessons that might be drawn from such hindsight.

One of the suggested lessons was that by critically examining hindsight we can obtain some insight. From that insight, foresight may ensue.

This blog attempts some foresight by asking, what is the next step that humanity is likely to take in disconnecting from nature?

First: some insights that can be obtained from our hindsight. Each step taken to move us away from nature was done so either establishing or bolstering a meme of disconnection.1 At least six such memes can be identified:

1.     Nature must be controlled, tamed, and conquered.

2.     Westernised thinking is split into dualisms of; mind/body, heaven/earth, inner/outer worlds, and self/environment.

3.     Anthropomorphising nature. In this way, the forces and energies of nature are tainted with human-like spirit, rather than their own (natural) spirit.

4.     Transcendence. The goal of humanity is to transcend nature, either by improving nature, or by ascending beyond nature.

5.     Materialism. Nature is nothing more than a machine.

6.     Human exceptionalism. Humankind is the exception to the rule. Humanity is the perfection of life, either God-given, or as a result of evolution.

So, what could be the next step away from a connection with nature?

It is not so hard to imagine what it is likely to be, as the signs are very clear. Indeed, we have already lifted our foot off the ground to take the next step.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its various manifestations (e.g. robotics, virtual reality, ChatGPT, driverless cars) is well established and gaining momentum at an alarming rate.

We already know how much electricity AI consumes globally. It is enormous! The impact upon fossil fuel use is massive, and predicted to increase significantly.2

What may be less known is the requirement by AI for greater quantities of hardware than other forms of computing. This puts immense pressure on resource use, as well as contributing to the growing e-waste problem.

Those are just two of the impacts of AI upon nature. What of the memes that maintain and propagate our human disconnection from nature? Read through the following quotes and see how many of the half-dozen memes referred to above you can pick:

‘In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up… We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today,…The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started… it symbolizes that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story…The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.’

Astute readers will no doubt have recognised the reference to metaverse, and hence that these may be quotations from Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, they are. The quotations come from his “Founders Letter” of 2021.

Mark Zuckerberg reiterated and expanded upon these ideas at the Meta Connect Conference in September 2023. In his keynote address he claimed that, via Meta, ‘(virtual and augmented reality) will be better than we have today.’ And hundreds of bright-eyed techno-optimists in the audience applauded him!

Zuckerberg’s dream (others might label it a nightmare) is still off in the future. However, with the ever exponentially expanding pace of AI it may not be far off.

Zuckerberg is not the only one expounding upon this nightmare. Others too are taking the meme of conquering nature and going a step further to doing away with nature altogether via augmented virtual reality which ‘closely resembles’ nature, but is not nature.

This next step surely is one of the most frightening ones we are likely to take. Critics of AI warn that the dangers in AI are not AI itself, but that AI will exacerbate every other danger that we already face. Think about that. Think of a danger, then multiply it by 10 or 100. Then think of another danger and multiply that also by 10 or 100. Do that with each and every danger. Surely, it is unthinkable. Surely, we should not be thinking of expanding AI in any form.

At some stage, very soon, we must recognise that the steps we have been taking over the past 10,000 – 12,000 years have taken us in an unhelpful and unhealthy direction.

We have to realise the foresight, and find the courage, to walk away from that path.


1. Meme is a word coined by Richard Dawkins and is analogous to gene. A meme is an idea, belief, behaviour, or style that spreads through a culture via imitation. Eventually a meme becomes so common that it is assumed by that culture to be normal, or the usual state of being.

2. For example, Microsoft and ExxonMobil have entered a partnership that will increase production from the Permian Basin (in Texas/New Mexico) by as much as 50,000 barrels of oil-equivalent by 2025. accessed 4 February 2024

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