Ideas Essay #13: For the planet’s sake, business needs to learn from nature.


Humankind’s obsession with commercialism has led us down a dangerous path, hurtling towards extinction. But Rebekah Shaman Bloom predicts that a return to conscious decision-making could save us.

The Industrial revolution was a definitive turning point in humanity’s relationship with nature and changed every aspect of life, and our interaction with the world around us. It made our lives easier, but in our determination to control our environment we have become increasingly left-brained; logical, systematic, rational, and scientific. The left-brain looks at the world from the reductionist perspective of individualism and ego-based thinking: “What can nature do for me?”


This egocentric perspective has created hierarchical structures, systems of control, and social and environmental manipulation for our own selfish desires, regardless of the impact. Over time we have slowly dominated, and conquered the natural resources of this planet for personal gain and profit.

The more we have successfully wielded our power, the more we have severed our symbiotic connection with nature and our relationship with the ‘anima mundi’ (Spirit of the world). This suppression of nature has also created global free market economics, trusting that the market itself would find its own equilibrium, fuelled by the concept of continuous growth. However, we are living on a planet with finite resources and bound by natural lore, and only now we are seeing the catastrophic effect this assumption is having on our environment.

Today society is fairer, where we have the right to a better, more prosperous life, but we have not extended that right to nature. Our obsession with continuous growth, commercialism, consumption and the need to maintain our current debt-based financial system means we have forgotten the importance of maintaining a balanced ecosystem for the survival of all living things.

The consequences of our actions; climate change, population explosion, environmental disasters, alongside the fastest rate of extinction ever seen on the planet, is forcing us to re-examine how we interact with nature. We have become so caught up in our entitlement, to satiate our ever-increasing appetites that we have lost our respect for the way this planet works. When we lose a species of animal, plant, tree or flower, we lose a vital link in our biological chain, and now we are on the verge of losing that vital link forever. This disconnection is also triggering a huge crisis in our mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.


Living with a small community deep in the Amazon jungle, I learnt that this planet is a delicate integrated ecological ecosystem and every living thing is interwoven into the web of life. Everything feeds off another living organism in order to survive.

The community relied on the river for its water, the fish and animals for food, the land for fruit and vegetables, and the trees and plants for shelter and medicine. Natural resources were the main currency, there was social equality and everyone prospered.

I recognised that we are not apart from nature – we are a part of nature. Our tribal ancestors relied on keeping our fragile ecosystem in balance for survival. They understood that they did not own it, and if they destroyed and abused their natural resources they were effectively destroying and abusing themselves. They accepted that humans were the stewards and guardians of nature, to maintain and sustain a healthy planet for future generations. They lived within natural lore, working symbiotically with nature, as the provider of the resources we need to remain healthy human beings. We must now look to how our indigenous communities interacted with the natural world, in order to find the solutions and avert the environmental catastrophe we are facing.

It is becoming crucial now for global businesses and individuals to show real leadership in understanding that the change must come from each one of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. We need to change our consciousness, to incorporate all living things that share this planet with us in our decision- making. It also makes good business sense, as companies who care about the planet, and are changing their models towards the triple bottom line, will be the future winners economically, emotionally and mentally. In my forthcoming regular column for Salt magazine, I will be drawing on my experiences of shamanism and living in the Amazon to share strategies and solutions to enable individuals and businesses to make the right choices that will not only benefit our planet for all living things, but also ensure the continuation of the human race.


– Our obsession with growth means we have forgotten the importance of maintaining a balanced ecosystem for the survival of all living things.

– Humans are the stewards and guardians of nature; we are in charge of maintaining a healthy planet for future generation Businesses must show leadership in conscious and responsible decision-making.

About Rebekah Shaman Bloom

Rebekah Shaman Bloom is a shaman, author, and motivational speaker. From 1998-2012, she apprenticed with a traditional Peruvian Ayahuasquero shaman, in the Amazon.