Humans in these places cooperate with earth's resources rather than abuse them; love one another as equals; often consider the land below them to be of religious and spiritual significance and respect it accordingly; and always display the ever-present smiles and glimmering eyes of people who feel truly connected to the world around them.
From high alpine villages in the Himalayas to the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia, and from rural islands in Central America to the frozen tundra of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, rural and indigenous people live knowing that we depend upon the earth.
They walk gently and treat the land knowing that their grandchildren will need that same land to prosper.
These communities and the nature around them have inspired me beyond measure and given me the mission to protect these people and the land around them from our violent uprooting of nature and its people’s gentle way of life.
Rural and indigenous people have taught me many lessons, often without saying a word
For example, one of the best ways to make our resources last and maintain our community is to live frugally.
These people talk to their neighbors instead of playing a video game, use organic compost from their land instead of oil derived fertilizers, and help one another because they have extra time on their hands.
As a result, they save electricity bills, harmful extractions and emissions, and labor costs all the while maintaining their land and their community.
To elaborate on the last point, I quote Martin Prechtel who spent some years living in a Mayan community in Guatemala:
“The secret of village togetherness and happiness had always been the generosity of its people, but the secret to that generosity was village inefficiency and decay. The House of the World, like our village huts and our human bodies, no matter how magnificent, is not built to last very long….If a house is built too well, so efficiently that it is permanent and refuses to fall apart, then people have no reason to come together. Though the house stays together, the people fall apart and nothing gets renewed.”
Rural villages around the world offer a first-hand look at this reality.
While their citizens might forego most luxuries and certain things we could not imagine living without, they also make it very apparent that we do not need much at all to live a very happy and fulfilling life.
Working the land with beautiful views, interacting with their community, seeing their children grow older, and eating a hardy meal after a long day is more than enough for a human to say they had a nice day.
Of course in some ways many rural areas do need help
Clean and accessible running water, for example, is a necessity and it is lacking in many regions of the world.
My point is not that their lives are perfect, it’s that they are making their lives work with very little exterior distractions, which saves our earth and preserves their communities.
Bridging the values of rural communities and the knowledge of more educated communities, as NGOs like Local Futures do, is necessary for a better future. And you could help too.
While rural and indigenous people might have a few lessons to learn from the “civilized” world, we have countless very important lessons to learn from them.
We need to back away from our technological obsessions and love one another and our earth again.
Thankfully sites like Worldpackers offer that opportunity with thousands of openings across rural villages to farm sustainably, help build necessary infrastructure, and take care of children while their parents work the land.
Not only could you help villagers much in need, but you will also take the many lessons you learned back home where, you might realize, we have gotten ahead of ourselves.
See more of his posts on Eyes of the world travels