Free Essay Comparing First Nations' and Indian Religions Views of Nature

Published: 2022-04-18
Free Essay Comparing First Nations' and Indian Religions Views of Nature
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Religion Nature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1195 words
10 min read

The First Nations hold the belief that the earth's nature is responsible for giving life and sustenance to the human world, the birds of the sky, the creatures of the land, as well as the animals in the sea. They traditionally believe that nature is responsible for providing materials for the ingenuity, industry, and progress of the human race ("The Natural World in. First Nations Pedagogy," 2013). Their traditions hold that there is a spirit in every living thing. Importantly, members of the First Nations believe that if human beings pay attention to the spirit that lives in all things, they will be duly informed on the best way to take care of the environment. There is a strong spiritual connection between the indigenous people and nature, through the spirits. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the people to ensure that the environment is taken care of.

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The First Nations people have a special relationship with nature, which is built upon a culture of humility, respect, and reciprocity. That is, the people receive air, food, water, and fire as gifts. In return, they treat nature with respect and only take what they need. Through the practices of farming, hunting, and fishing, the indigenous people can provide food for themselves, their families, the elderly, and the community at large. However, everything is taken from nature with a clear understanding of the need for moderation to secure the livelihood of the future generations. The First Nations people understand that the destruction of the environment affects them and the whole world at large ("Honouring Earth," n.d). Even though indigenous people are not fully aware of the extent of the damage that can be caused by the desecration of nature, they understand that the harm caused by the pollutants, especially from industrial establishments, adversely affects the health of all living things. They believe that the environmental degradation lowers the quality of life, which relies on the purity of the land, water, and air. As a result, it erodes the spiritual connection between the people and nature, thus affecting the spiritual life of the indigenous populations.

These beliefs held by the First Nations are also mirrored by a larger section of Buddhist scholars, in their interpretation of religious teachings. In the recent past, notable Buddhist figures and shapers of public opinion within their community have come forward to address the issue of climate change. Several Buddhist scholars have also published manuals and formed organizations with the sole purpose of agitating for transformative climate change policies, to ensure that the interests of nature are safeguarded (Jenkins, Tucker, and Grim, 2016). These eco-Buddhists draw their inspiration from interpretations of religious scripts, which broadly point out the interconnectivity of nature and human beings. Apart from the religious texts, this group of Buddhists also falls back on the support of ritual practices, ethical values, and cultural doctrines, to support their correlation between nature conservation and religion.

The core of these beliefs among the ecological Buddhists is the concept of dependent origination. This is the principle that argues for the dependence of the existence of phenomena arising one after the other. That is, the occurrence of events is tied to each other, such that one has to happen to enable the other also to occur. They allege that Buddha expressed this doctrine by stating that "when this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases (Thero, 2010).'' Therefore, this interdependence on each other should encourage human beings to care for the environment because if one ceases to exist, then the other will also be destroyed (Jenkins et al., 2016). They go further to argue that Buddhist tradition has always valued nature since it provides an ideal environment for meditative practice. Eco-Buddhists also rely on the evidence of celebration of nature in Buddhist, inspired art, as well as in the hermitage traditions, as proof that their religion has always valued nature.

Even though Hinduism holds a slightly different view in its traditions in relation with nature, the concept of conservation behind the beliefs held remains the same. The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change presented at the Melbourne Parliament of World religions establishes the intersection between religion and nature (Lal, 2015). Hindu tradition recognizes that it is an exercise in futility to try and separate man from nature. Instead of the Buddhist interconnectedness, Hindu tradition acknowledges the oneness of all things in life, through a shared spiritual, psychological, and physical connection with other living things in our surroundings. Its traditions are cognizant of the fact that the forces of nature and the orders of life therein are all connected in the cosmos of life. Recognizing the protection of the surroundings as a religious duty increases the sense of responsibility amongst the adherents of that religion, who are expected to be more cautionary in their interactions with the environment.

The beliefs of the First Nations, which are mirrored by both the Buddhists and Hindus, all hold a common notion; the theory of interdependence between man and nature has always been part of the human tradition (Kopnina, 2015). Regardless of geographical, religious, political, or social differences, the constant idea is the importance of environmental conservation. The concerns and explanations for the destruction of nature from past days are mirrored in the concerns expressed by environmental activists in the present day. Overexploitation of natural resources for the sake of human consumption has always been a threat to the preservation of nature (Kopnina, 2015). Therefore, the only hope for conservation lies in the adaptation of an environmental culture. The small community in Rajasthan managed to turn their ecological fortunes around by making "conservation" a religious duty. This represents an evolution in religion to adopt with current issues. Similarly, the rest of humanity needs to take a similar approach if there is any hope of salvaging the planet from the effects of climate change. A change in the mindset of people is urgently needed.

It is clear that First Nations, Buddhists, and Hindu traditions and religious beliefs support the notion that humanity requires nature for it to survive. They all hold a common sentiment that the onus of the conservation of the environment is on human beings. By protecting the environment, human beings will be ensuring the survival of planet earth. Therefore, it is crucial for the society to adopt a culture that embraces the protection of the surroundings. Consequently, owing to the interdependence between them, nature will be able to offer sustenance to the human race.


"Honouring Earth" (n.d). Assembly of First Nations. Retrieved from

Jenkins, W., Tucker, M., and Grim, J, eds. (2016). Routledge International Handbooks: Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology. Florence, US: Routledge.

Kopnina, H. (2015). If a tree falls and everybody hears the sound: Teaching deep ecology to business students. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 9(1), 101-116.

Lal, V. (2015). Climate Change: Insights from Hinduism. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 83(2), 388-406.

"The Natural World in. First Nations Pedagogy" (2013). Retrieved from, D. (2010). Dependent origination. Sangha Foundation.

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