We love nature as much as we love community, and we love sharing these natural treasures with our friends who visit us. Nature is more than just a location, more than a beautiful scene and it has a deeper meaning to the local culture than people realize. Of course, with climate change and development we see how cultures are impacted by the changes in their natural environments. We can also see that cultural impact often works in the other direction as well.
The communities on the Colombian Caribbean coast have long histories with music and food and ethnic diversity. The natural gifts that exist on this coast have played big roles in how those things have evolved over time. Not only has nature inspired them, but it has facilitated their creative ability for many generations.
There is great overlap in the music, jewelry and other cultural traits of South America and Africa due to the history of slavery and colonization. Although the styles have similarities, the materials that the instruments and other items are made from vary greatly not only between the continents but also from country to country. Many of the materials that are used in the instruments of the Colombian Caribbean are unique to the region and that adds to how valuable the materials are to the local culture. The wood from trees, the the hull of a seed, even the seeds themselves can be utilized in new and innovative ways from culture to culture.
When looking at food traditions and customs, those differences from culture to culture can also stem from natural material. If there is a lot of stone available to utilize as a cooking surface can demonstrate differences in one region from another. The types of agricultural tools that are developed out of natural materials can vary as well depending on what items nature provides to each community. These are all pieces of history that exemplify human ingenuity everywhere but also connects each community to their natural surroundings in a unique way.
This reminds us that not only are human beings intelligent, resilient and resourceful in all cultures, but that nature has an impact on each of us just as much as we can have an impact
on it. Many indigenous religions praised nature as being a sacred entity because of how they relied on it for their sustenance, comfort and ability to progress as a people. This is not small thing, the fact that their entire faith was put into the nature that surrounded them means that indigenous people knew that their fate here on earth was tied so deeply with nature that it had to mean that there was something greater than what they saw in front of them.
Although all groups of people have their own relationships with nature, nature always seems to have the same relationship with people. Nature is there to breathe, to live and to demonstrate its strength in a way that lets us know it will care for us as long as we care for it. We see the impact that humans have had on the challenges that nature faces today, but we can change our perspective on this even in the age of technology. Learning about smaller local communities and their long-standing symbiotic relationships with their environments can stand as a reminder of what we are capable of accomplishing when we work hand-in-hand with nature and appreciate its beauty as well as what it does for us every day.