This past Canada Day I was reminded how little detail I know about the celebration. So, I Googled it. Did you know it was the three colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the United Province of Canada that originally formed our single country?
Countless lines of text later, the idea that continued to resonate with me the most was that Canada is our home.
Later, more research reminded me of a book that sits on my shelf entitled Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Within it’s pages, cognitive scientist George Lakoff sheds insight on the use of metaphors, and in one particular instance, suggests that nature is a home.
I try and use this metaphor as often as I can when I am communicating our connection to the environment. The link between nature and home is inseparable to me, especially living in Canada where the wild spaces are dear to so many of us.
Lakoff is a master of metaphors as he proves in Metaphors We Live By (with Mark Johnson), among other academic pursuits. He continues to convince us that metaphors are omnipresent in our lexicon—a good reminder of how powerful they can be in getting our messages across.
With an à la carte array of choice, metaphors not only suggest our moral values, but they persuade others to think the same way. Metaphors have always allowed us to make sense of the world, and in doing so we can emotionally connect to difficult ideas.
Next time you are sharing a message about the environment, glance this list of metaphors to help make your message more clear:
• Nature is a mother (who provides for us)
• Nature is a whole (of which we are inseparable parts)
• Nature is a divine being (to be revered and respected)
• Nature is a living organism (whose needs must be met if it is to survive)
• Nature is a victim of injury (who has been harmed and needs to be healed)
• Nature is a home (to be maintained and kept clean)
See some of Evermaven’s recent work: